Encyclopedia of Solid Earth Geophysics

Living Edition
| Editors: Harsh K. Gupta

Tsunami Watch and Warning Centers

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-10475-7_230-1


Tsunami. Japanese word literally meaning harbor wave (tsu + nami). Tsunamis are series of ocean gravity waves caused mainly due to undersea earthquakes and undersea volcanic activity, rarely due to submarine landslides and very infrequently due to meteor impacts.

Tsunamigenic earthquake. Large earthquake occurring mostly in subduction zones capable of generating tsunami.

National Tsunami Warning Center (NTWC). A center officially designated by the government for collating and disseminating tsunami warnings/advisories and other related information within its country according to established national Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs).

Tsunami Service Provider (TSP). A center that monitors seismic and sea level activity and issues timely tsunami forecast information within an Intergovernmental Coordination Group (ICG) framework to NTWCs/TWFPs and other TSPs operating within an ocean basin. TSPs may also act as NTWCs providing tsunami warnings for their own countries.


This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.



The authors would like to specially thank Ms. Sunanda Manneela for compiling information in the preparation of the manuscript, and Mr. Ch. Patanjali Kumar, Mr. R. S. Mahendra, Dr. P. L. N. Murty, Mr. Ajay Kumar, and Mr. J. Padmanabham for providing graphical inputs and in developing the manuscript. The authors are grateful to Dr. S. S. C. Shenoi, Director, ESSO-INCOIS for encouragement and cooperation.


  1. Angove M, Arcas D, Bailey R, Carrasco P, Coetzee D, Fry B, Gledhill K, Harada S, von Hillebrandt-Andrade C, Kong L, McCreery C, McCurrach S-J, Miao Y, Sakya AE, Schindelé F (2019) Ocean observations required to minimize uncertainty in global tsunami forecasts, warnings, and emergency response. Front Mar Sci.  https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2019.00350
  2. Blewitt G, Kreemer C, Hammond WC (2006) Rapid determination of earthquake magnitude using GPS for tsunami warning systems. Geophys Res Lett 33:L11309.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2006GL026145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Gica E, Spillane MC, Titov VV, Chamberlin CD, Newman JC (2008) Development of the forecast propagation database for NOAA’s short-term inundation forecast for tsunamis (SIFT). NOAA technical memorandum OAR PMEL139. Contribution no. 2937 from NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental LaboratoryGoogle Scholar
  4. Greenslade DJM, Titov VV (2008) A comparison study of two numerical tsunami forecasting systems. Pure Appl Geophys 165:1991–2001.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00024-008-0413-xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Gupta HK (2005) Mega-tsunami of 26th December, 2004: Indian initiative for early warning system and mitigation of oceanogenic hazards. Episodes 28(1):2–5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Imamura F, Yalciner AC, Ozyurt G (1995) Tsunami modeling manual (TUNAMI model), April. Available at: http://www.tsunami.civil.tohoku.ac.jp/hokusai3/E/projects/manual-ver-3.1.pdf
  7. IOC-UNESCO (2016) Tsunami watch operations – global service definition document, IOC technical series no. 130. Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission–UNESCO, ParisGoogle Scholar
  8. Luettich RA, Westerink JJ (2004) Formulation and numerical implementation of the 2D/3D ADCIRC finite element model version 44.XX. http://adcirc.org/adcirc_theory_2004_12_08.pdf
  9. Mahendra RS, Mohanty PC, Bisoyi H, Srinivasa Kumar T, Nayak S (2011) Assessment and management of coastal multi-hazard vulnerability along the Cuddalore–Villupuram, east coast of India using geospatial techniques. Ocean Coast Manag 54(4):302–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Mansinha LA, Smylie DE (1971) Displacement fields of inclined faults. Bull Seismol Soc Am 61:1433–1440Google Scholar
  11. Mulia IE, Gusman AR, Jakir Hossen M, Satake K (2018) Adaptive tsunami source inversion using optimizations and the reciprocity principle. J Geophys Res Solid Earth 123:10,749–10,760Google Scholar
  12. Nayak S, Kumar ST (2008a) The first tsunami early warning center in the Indian Ocean. In: Risk Wise. Tudor Rose, Leicester, pp 175–177Google Scholar
  13. Nayak S, Kumar ST (2008b) Addressing the risk of tsunami in the Indian Ocean. J South Asian Disaster Stud 1(1):45–57Google Scholar
  14. Nayak S, Kumar ST (2008c) Indian tsunami warning system. Int Arch Photogramm Remote Sens Spat Inf Sci XXXVII:Part B4Google Scholar
  15. Nayak S, Kumar ST (2011) Tsunami watch and warning centers. Encycl Solid Earth Geophys.  https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-8702-7_230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Patanjali Kumar C, Ajay Kumar B, Uma Devi E, Mahendra RS, Sunanda MV, Pradeep Kumar M, Padmanabham J, Dipankar S, Srinivasa Kumar T (2015) The admissible tsunamigenic source region of 24 September 2013 land-based earthquake – application of backward ray tracing technique. Curr Sci 108(9):1712–1716Google Scholar
  17. Sobolev SV, Babeyko AY, Wang R (2007) Tsunami early warning using GPS-Shield arrays. J Geophys Res 112.  https://doi.org/10.1029/2006JB004640
  18. Srinivasa Kumar T, Patanjali Kumar C, Nayak S (2010) Performance of the Indian tsunami early warning system. Int Arch Photogramm Remote Sens Spat Inf Sci XXXVIII(8):271–274Google Scholar
  19. Srinivasa Kumar T, Nayak S, Patanjali Kumar C, Yadav RBS, Ajay Kumar B, Sunanda MV, Uma Devi E, Shenoi SSC (2012) Performance of the tsunami forecast system for the Indian Ocean. Curr Sci 102(1):110–114Google Scholar
  20. Titov VV, Gonzalez FI (1997) Implementation and testing of the method of splitting tsunami (MOST) model. NOAA technical memorandum ERL PMEL-112. Contribution no. 1927 from NOAA/Pacific Marine Environmental LaboratoryGoogle Scholar
  21. UNESCO-IOC (2006) Manuals of sea level interpretation, vol 4. UNESCO, ParisGoogle Scholar
  22. UNESCO-IOC (2019) Tsunami glossary, IOC technical series no. 85. UNESCO, ParisGoogle Scholar

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS)BengaluruIndia
  2. 2.Earth System Science Ogranisation–Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (ESSO–INCOIS)HyderabadIndia
  3. 3.ICG/IOTWMS SecretariatUNESCO IOC Perth Regional Programme OfficeWest PerthAustralia