About the Tsunami Program
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Tsunami Program formed over a period of decades as the United States (U.S.) repeatedly experienced the impact of tsunamis. In response to a series of destructive tsunamis generated in the mid-twentieth century, NOAA, under the auspices of the National Weather Service, established two tsunami warning centers dedicated solely to protecting U.S. interests from the tsunami threat. Program scope paralleled U.S. resolve to safeguard the nation's coasts as more events unfolded. The scale of destruction and unprecedented loss of life following the December 2004 Sumatra tsunami, in particular, served as the catalyst to refocus efforts on reducing tsunami vulnerability of coastal communities and, on 20 December 2006, the U.S. Congress passed the 'Tsunami Warning and Education Act' under which education and warning activities were thereafter specified and mandated. An update to this Act, the Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act, was signed into law in 2017.
The Tsunami Program is a federal, multi-state, and international partnership focused on reducing the impact of tsunamis along U.S. coastlines. Administered by the National Weather Service (NWS), the program leverages the capabilities of NWS and multiple other NOAA line offices, including the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR), the National Ocean Service (NOS), and the National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS). On an individual level, the expertise and organizational mission of partners contribute:
- Observation systems for rapid detection of tsunamigenic earthquakes and tsunami waves in the deep ocean,
- Numerical models for forecasting tsunami impacts,
- Timely and accurate messaging,
- Access to historical databases and archival of event water level data,
- Decision-support services to guide community response during an event, or
- Preparedness and mitigation activities aimed at minimizing potential impacts at the community level.
Taken together, these contributions form the end-to-end, detection-to-community response network shown below for efficient response to tsunami waves generated throughout the world oceans.
The NOAA Tsunami Program
Graphical representation of the Tsunami Program in which partner contributions are recognized at the national, regional, and local levels.
(Adapted from NOAA https://www.noaa.gov/stories/noaa-mitigates-impact-of-killer-waves)