Articles | Volume 13, issue 5
Research article
 | Highlight paper
17 May 2013
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 17 May 2013

Instant tsunami early warning based on real-time GPS – Tohoku 2011 case study

A. Hoechner, M. Ge, A. Y. Babeyko, and S. V. Sobolev

Abstract. Taking the 2011 Tohoku earthquake as an example, we demonstrate the ability of real-time GPS to provide qualified tsunami early warning within minutes. While in earlier studies we demonstrated the power of the so-called GPS shield concept based on synthetic data, we here present a complete processing chain starting from actual GPS raw data and fully simulate the situation as it would be in a warning center. The procedure includes processing of GPS observations with predicted high precision orbits, inversion for slip and computation of the tsunami propagation and coastal warning levels. We show that in case of the Tohoku earthquake, it would be feasible to provide accurate tsunami warning as soon as 3 min after the beginning of the earthquake.