US to invest in tsunami detection and warning system

Spurred to action by the devastating southern &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Asian tsunami, top Bush administration science officials Friday pledged to double the country's investment in a warning system by greatly expanding detection technology in the Pacific Ocean and extending it into the Atlantic.

By spending $37.5 million over two years, the government would add 32 buoys for deep-ocean monitoring to its tsunami detection and warning system. Five would be deployed in the Atlantic, two in the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Caribbean Sea and the rest in the Pacific.

The funding must be approved by &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Congress; the initial reaction on Capitol Hill was positive, reports Los Angeles Times.

Deep-ocean water pressure sensors and surface tidal gauges, along with improved earthquake monitoring instruments, will give the United States nearly perfect ability to detect destructive tidal waves on both coasts and put out alerts within 15 minutes, government officials said at a news conference in Washington.

It's an "end-to-end system. We're talking not only about detection devices in the water, but how to spread the word, communications, risk assessment, emergency plans, and an education system," said Conrad C. Lautenbacher Jr., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere.

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