The tsunami disaster affecting the Indian Ocean region on Christmas 2004 demonstrated very clearly the shortcomings in tsunami detection, public warning processes as well as intergovernmental warning message exchange in the Indian Ocean region. There is an urgent need for a new generation of reliable tsunami early warning systems based on a stable multi‐sensor monitoring platform.
The time interval between an initial strong earthquake and the detection of the tsunami has to be drastically reduced. Warning messages should be generated more rapidly and should only be disseminated to responsible authorities and people at risk. Initial warnings should be followed by in depth information that is understandable and reliable for people. Another important challenge is the international communication and warning exchange in the Indian Ocean region.
The DEWS project – DEWS stands for Distant Early Warning System ‐ aims at strengthening the early warning capacities by building an innovative generation of interoperable tsunami early warning systems. Tsunami detection will be based on an open sensor platform, integrating sensor systems for earthquake (seismic), sea level (tide gauge, buoys) and ground displacement (GPS land stations) monitoring. Based on this improved upstream information flow the downstream capacities will be enhanced by improving information logistics and multi channel warning dissemination. Warning messages have to be disseminated to the public, authorities and emergency management forces.
Of special importance is the distant communication of warning information among warning centres in the Indian Ocean region. Based on results of the German Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System (GITEWS) the DEWS approach will in a first step provide a Reference Model for interoperable tsunami early warning systems based on the ORCHESTRA Reference Model, the specifications of the GITEWS sensor system platform (Tsunami Service Bus) and regional user requirements that will be represented by the INCO project partners.
The design of DEWS will thus be based on standards and practical experience in the field of disaster management. Following the guidelines of the DEWS reference model a set of components will be developed comprising upstream, downstream and warning centre services. Both, DEWS Reference Model and software components will be validated in two prototype implementations, a National and a Regional Warning Centre. The national centre scenario will focus on public warning, the regional centre scenario on centre to centre warning dissemination in a multi lingual environment.
In Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka authorities responsible for disaster management and/or operation of early warning systems as well as universities are involved in DEWS project. They will on the one hand help to improve the quality of user and system requirements considerably. On the other hand these organisations will improve and promote the transfer of technology including capacity building. Measures for the future exploitation and dissemination of results will be conducted successively throughout the project to ensure the future practical use of DEWS, including two conferences involving major stakeholders at world wide level.
The project also aims at ensuring transferability and applicability of the proposed DEWS system to other regions, and this task will be undertaken by supplementary action in the Mediterranean basin.The DEWS consortium presents a well balanced number of public and private organization from several EU member states and INCO countries. It combines participants from diverse disciplines able to combine cutting edge thinking with hand on experience. The broad range of EU technological competence and application experience including defence system and civil security suppliers, telecommunications network and system developers and service providers, as well as research institutes and technology niche specialists will provide a clear added value which is only possible to mobilise at EU level.