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Map showing DART buoy locations

How the DART® Network helps forecasting:

The information collected by a network of DART® systems positioned at strategic locations throughout the ocean plays a critical role in tsunami forecasting.The current deployed DART location (from NDBC) are shown on the map at the right.

When a tsunami event occurs, the first information available about the source of the tsunami is based only on the available seismic information for the earthquake event. As the tsunami wave propagates across the ocean and successively reaches the DART® systems, these systems report sea level information measurements back to the Tsunami Warning Centers, where the information is processed to produce a new and more refined estimate of the tsunami source. The result is an increasingly accurate forecast of the tsunami that can be used to issue watches, warnings or evacuations.

YouTube lobo This video about the 2010 Chile tsunami explains the role of the DART® buoy in tsunami forecasting.

DART® buoy development:

More information about DART®

Over the past 20 years, NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) has identified the requirements of the tsunami measurement system through evolution in both technoloy and knowledge of deep ocean tsunami dynamics. The tsunami forecasting technology developed at PMEL is based on the integration of realtime measurements and modeling technologies, a well-tested approach used in most hazard forecast systems.

The first-generation DART® design featured an automatic detection and reporting algorithm triggered by a threshold wave-height value. The DART® II design incorporated two-way communications that enables tsunami data transmission on demand, independenty of the automatic algorithm; this capability ensures the measurement and reporting of tsunamis with amplitude below the auto-reporting threshold. The next generation tsunami detection buoy is the DART® ETD (Easy To Deploy) buoy developed at PMEL.

YouTube logoSee DART ETD YouTube video).

Developed by PMEL and deployed operationally by NOAA's National Data Buoy Center (NDBC), DART® is essential to fulfilling NOAA's national responsibility for tsunami hazard mitigation and warnings.