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Pressure Transducers Provide Early Warnings for Tsunamis

After the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asian in 2004, many nations started looking into more extensive and comprehensive tsunami warning systems. One of these systems was a ring of tsunami buoys. The National Data Buoy Center owns most of the buoys that ring aroundfavicon the Pacific Ocean. Anyone is allowed access to this information from the organizations website. Many nations use these buoys to receive advanced warning of tsunamis so they can evacuate target areas.

The tsunami buoy is a two part operation. There is an anchor and a companion buoy. The anchors are pressure transducers anchored to the bottom of the sea floor that contains a central processing unit and an acoustic transmitter. The pressure sensor will pick up distinctive pressure changes that a tsunami will make as it passes. The transmitter communicates the information to the companion buoy. The companion buoy relays that information to a satellite where the data can be accessed by whoever owns the buoy.

There is an international standard for buoy colors so they can be understood by everyone. Solid green and red buoys tell you were to navigate through places like channels. Many buoys indicate danger and how to avoid it. If you were to Google search tsunami buoys you would find they come in two colors. They are either red and white vertically stripped, which means fairway and it can be passed on either side, or yellow, which means the buoy collects scientific data.

I’ve seen a lot of orange and white buoys when I used to go on my Grandpas boat in lakes surrounding his cabin. They have different symbols on them indicating different purposes for the buoy. A square will indicate stuff like campsite information, a diamond indicates a hazard, a diamond with stripes means “keep out” and a circle will have things such as speed limit. I never realized it because I’ve never driven a boat but buoys are pretty much the road signs of the water.

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