CHENNAI: India is set to become the first country to predict the extent of inundation caused by tsunami waves in real time. To do that, a specialised super computer is being procured at a cost of `42 crore.
This, scientists claim, would be a major breakthrough after India set up the Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) at the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Sciences, Hyderabad, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
Right now, ITEWC provides information on the possible height of tsunami waves and the time to impact on the coast. After upgradation, it would tell the extent and level of inundation.
M Rajeevan Nair, secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, said the proposal to upgrade ITEWC was in its final stages and would be beneficial for Indian Ocean rim countries, Australia and Indonesia.
ITEWC has 36 teraflop machines, which is not enough to do tsunami modelling and has to depend on computer systems of IITM, Pune.
“Depending on IITM would be a huge risk, if connectivity fails during an emergency. So, a proposal to procure half a petaflop super computer has been submitted to the ministry. We have developed necessary models and testing is being done,” said INCOIS director Satheesh C Shenoi.
The worthiness of ITEWC has already been established when it detected an 8.6 magnitude earthquake off the western coast of Aceh, northern Sumatra, and accurately analysed that it would not generate tsunami waves, while other basins issued tsunami warnings, triggering panic.
Shenoi said the proposed improvement would only help authorities evolve better contingency plans. “The Warning Centre is capable of issuing tsunami bulletins in less than 10 minutes after a major earthquake in the Indian Ocean, leaving us with a response/lead time of about 20 minutes for near source regions in the Andaman and Nicobar and a few hours in the case of the mainland.