Global Tsunameter Readings Visualization / Various Locations

Project Name: Global Tsunameter Readings Visualization / Various Locations


How to Operate:

  • To select a station, drag and zoom the globe to view the station you wish to examine, and then click the station marker
  • To play the animated graph once a station is selected, press the ‘Play’ button
  • To adjust the speed of the animated graph, use the drop down to select a millisecond delay value (lower values generate a faster animation)


Project Description:


This visualization describes measurements made by DART (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis) tsunameters from around the world. Individual stations consist of a surface buoy connected to a bottom pressure recording (BPR) located on the seafloor. This BPR detects pressure changes caused by tsunamis and tides, which are used to calculate the sea floor depth below the sea surface.


These tsunameters take measurements in 15 minute intervals while in standard mode, but when a tsunami is detected, the buoy begins transmitting in event mode, taking measurements every 15 seconds for several minutes, followed by 1 minute averages for 4 hours.


To broadcast the data, a surface buoy first receives information from its BPR through an acoustic link, and then transmits this data to a passing satellite, which retransmits the data to ground stations for immediate dissemination into NOAA’s Tsunami Warning Centers, NOAA’s National Data Buoy Center (NDBC), and NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL).


The data displayed here is from the year 2018 for the majority of stations. If data was unavailable for this year, the most recent available year of data was chosen. Additionally, all data was converted from feet to meters.


Within this visualization, we can observe one tsunami event early on in the year, being the Kodiak, Alaska Tsunami which occurred on January 23, 2018. This event is visible from several stations in the near vicinity, namely station 46409 and others near Alaska. During the event, you will see irregularities in the normally smooth slope of the line representing the sea height, showing the drops and then increases from the resulting waves.


We can also observe the MeteoTsunami of 15 May, 2018, from station 44402 located off the northeast coast of the United States. Here we can observe the slight, but noticeable increase in sea levels at this location due to the severity of the passing storm system.


These stations were developed for the early detection, measurement, and real time reporting of tsunamis in the open ocean. Analysis of this data, historically and in real time, currently provides the means to generate accurate and timely warnings that help to save the lives and property of coastal residents. This also reduces the economic and physical impact of this style of evacuation as a whole, while also ensuring that these evacuations are warranted.


This network of tsunameters can also be used to analyze how ocean levels are changing over time around the world, which can help guide future proactive planning and government actions taken to mitigate the loss of life and property as sea levels continue to rise as a result of global warming.


Additional Items: N/A

Developer(s): Nicholas VanCise, University of Nevada-Las Vegas


Data Feeds Employed:


Open Source Tools:






Original Posting Date: 19 October 2020