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Among the tasks that face the countries worst affected by the 26 December tsunami in the Bay of Bengal, none is more important than ensuring more lives can be saved if disaster strikes again. So researchers are gearing up for a massive international effort to collect the data needed.


In this article, Yudhijit Bhattacharjee reports on the range of information the scientists are seeking in order to improve models of how tsunami are formed and to establish a warning system in the Indian Ocean. Surveys to discover how tall and fast the waves were, for instance, will be used to refine computer simulations and pinpoint the most vulnerable coastal areas.

Such predictions are hard to make accurately, as sea floors are uneven and coastlines often jagged. But the governments of India, Indonesia and Thailand are determined to fill this knowledge gap fast, and are committing millions of dollars to the new warning systems.

Link to article in Science

Reference: Science 307, 22 (2005)

Link to SciDev.Net's news focus 'Tsunami update'