NOAA chief calls for global ocean sensing

In the wake of the deadly Indian Ocean tsunami late last month, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chief Conrad Lautenbacher has renewed his call for a Global Ocean Observing System that would integrate many governments' stovepiped sensors.

After seismometers detected the magnitude 9.0 earthquake that could generate tsunami, NOAA tried to warn Indian Ocean nations, but it has no tsunami-sensing buoys there, as it does in the Pacific Ocean.

NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory has six sensor buoys along the Pacific coast that report changes in sea level.

The deep-ocean assessment and reporting of tsunamis buoys consist of an anchored sea floor pressure recorder with a companion surface buoy. An acoustic link transmits data to the buoy. The data then travels to ground stations via one of NOAA's geostationary operational environmental satellites.

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