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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

Boost for tsunami detection capability in WA

Media release
7 October 2008
PG 148

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Australia's tsunami detection capability has been further enhanced with the deployment of another two Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami (DARTTM) buoys off the northwest coast of Australia, Environment Minister Peter Garrett said today.

"With five buoys now deployed off the Australian coast the Bureau is able to monitor changes in the sea level for signs of potential tsunami threat from the Sunda Trench and Timor Trough.

"The additional deep-ocean tsunami detection buoys will provide vital sea level observations for the west coast of Australia and real-time tsunami detection.

Mr Garrett said the deployment of the additional two buoys took place on schedule as part of the rollout of the $68.9 million Australian Tsunami Warning System, which would also include the installation of sea level monitoring stations positioned around Australia's coastline by mid-2009.

Dr Ray Canterford, head of the Bureau's tsunami warning project, said "the acquisition of this information is critical to providing real time forecasts that allow warnings to be provided with enough lead time to potentially reduce the loss of life and property in coastal communities."

The DARTTM buoys consist of a bottom pressure sensor that is anchored to the seafloor, and a companion moored surface buoy. An acoustic link transmits data from the bottom pressure sensor to the surface buoy, and then satellite links relay the data to warning centres for scientific analysis by the Bureau of Meteorology.

Commonwealth of Australia