Natural disasters keep taking a huge toll of men and their livelihoods and properties and hence, an early warning system for earthquakes, tsunamis and floods would be an invaluable aid for any country.

Such systems are under development in California where scientists are using GPS technology and other sensors to detect the impending threat of natural disasters.

The network to carry out these activities have been installed in Southern California and has already helped scientists to alert emergency services to the risk of flash floods as informed by Dr Yehuda Bock from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

In the opinion of Dr Bock, such preparedness can help to mitigate threats to public safety because real time data would be available at all times to take suitable decisions.

The system, in short, is based on existing networks of GPS stations that make extensive use of satellite technology in order to make very precise measurements of any ground movement.

It also involves installation of seismic sensors and other instruments that can track changes in weather conditions and, by superimposing the various spectrum of data, it is possible to measure displacements that take place during an earthquake or other such major event.

Dr Bock has also informed that the system could detect the tremors that appear seconds before a large earthquake strikes, and, thereby, assess with precision its magnitude and possibilities of generating a tsunami.

The findings have been presented at the recent Fall meeting of the America Geophysical Union in San Francisco.


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