U.S. Tsunami Programs: A Brief Overview [March 18 2011]   [open pdf - 393KB]

"A 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck off Japan's northeast coast near Honshu in the afternoon on Friday, March 11, 2011 (12:46 a.m. eastern time in the United States). The earthquake triggered a tsunami that has caused widespread devastation to parts of the coastal regions in Japan closest to the earthquake. The tsunami traveled across the Pacific Ocean, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tsunami warning centers in Hawaii and Alaska issued tsunami warnings for coastal areas of Hawaii, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, American Samoa, Alaska, and California. Although the tsunami caused widespread damage along the northeast coast of Japan, tsunami warnings issued from the tsunami warning centers gave the above U.S. Pacific territories, Hawaii, and the U.S. West Coast adequate warning to prepare for incoming waves. NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) manages the two tsunami warning centers that monitor, detect, and issue warnings for tsunamis generated in the Pacific Ocean. [...] Funding for the NOAA tsunami program supports three main categories of activities: (1) warning, such as the activities of the tsunami warning centers and DART [Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis] network; (2) mitigation, such as the activities of NTHMP [National Tsunami Hazards Mitigation Program]; and (3) research, including activities conducted by the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and the National Buoy Data Center. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted that total funding for all these activities ranged from $5 million to $10 million annually between FY1997 and FY2004, but increased after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami from approximately $27 million in FY2005 to $42 million in FY2009. Funding in FY2010 was $41 million. Currently, 7 of the 39 DART buoys are not operational. Of the 7 buoys that are not working, 5 are deployed in the Pacific Ocean. If more DART buoys fail, and regional forecasting capabilities are impaired, then the NOAA Administrator must notify Congress within 30 days. According to NOAA, the current continuing resolution (P.L. 112-4) does not allow the NWS to allocate FY2011 funding to purchase ship time required to repair the 7 DART buoys that are not working."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R41686
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Via E-mail
Media Type:
Help with citations