The Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami Early Warning and Mitigation System in the North-eastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and connected seas (ICG/NEAMTWS) was formed in response to the tragic tsunami on 26 December 2004, in which over 250,000 lives were lost around the Indian Ocean region.
The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) received a mandate from the international community to coordinate the establishment of the System during the course of several international and regional meetings, including the World Conference on Disaster Reduction (Kobe, Japan, 18 – 22 January 2005), and the Phuket Ministerial Meeting on Regional Cooperation on Tsunami Early Warning Arrangements (Phuket, Thailand, 28 and 29 January 2005).
The IOC Assembly, during its twenty-third Session (21-30 June 2005), formally established the ICG/NEAMTWS through Resolution IOC-XXIII-14.The guidelines for the NEAMTWS activities are compiled in the NEAMTWS Imprementation Plan.
The Council of the European Union with its Conclusion of December 2007 (15473/07) emphasised, in order to avoid duplications, the importance of integrating forthcoming proposals into the ongoing IOC's NEAMTWS initiative
Ahmet Yalciner (Turkey, Middle East Technical University - METU)): 2014-2015
WORKING GROUPS AND TASK TEAMS
The Intergovernmental Coordination Group meets regularly to establish and implement working plans in the NEAM region. To address specific technical issues (terms of reference) it has formed four working groups and two task teams:
3 Working Group 3 - Sea Level Data Collection and Exchange, Including Offshore Tsunami Detection and Instruments - Co-chairs: Begoña Pérez Gómez (Puertos del Estado, Spain) and Dov S. Rosen (Israel Oceanographic & Limnological Research, Israel)
STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS OF THE TWS
Tsunami Watch Provider (TWPs)
National Tsunami Warning Centres (NTWC) in each country are responsible for issuing warnings to the relevant authorities in the Member State. Tsunami Watch Providers are those NTWCs willing and able to provide tsunami alert information outside their Member State at designated Forecast Points; Watch Recipients are those Tsunami Warning Focal Points (TWFPs) choosing to receive such information.
- Reception and interpretation of real-time seismic and sea-level measurements
- Determination of seismic parameters
- Forecasting of tsunami arrival times and level of alert at forecasting point specificed by Member States
- Exchange seismic and sea level parameters and information with other TWPs and NTWCs
- Disseminate watch and cancellation messages based on the alert-level decision matrix to NTWCs and the TWFPs
- Monitoring of tsunami propagation and disseminate updated information in priority tsunami amplitude measurements
- Function as a NTWC
Tsunami National Contact (TNC)
The person designated by an ICG Member State government to represent his/her country in the coordination of international tsunami warning and mitigation activities. The person is part of the main stakeholders of the national tsunami warning and mitigation system program. The person may be the Tsunami Warning Focal Point, from the national disaster management organization, from a technical or scientific institution, or from another agency with tsunami warning and mitigation responsibilities.
Tsunami Warning Focal Point (TWFP)
The Tsunami Warning Focal Point (TWFP) is a 7x24 contact person, or other official point of contact or address designated by a government, available at the national level for rapidly receiving and issuing tsunami event information (such as warnings). The Tsunami Warning Focal Point either is the emergency authority (civil defense or other designated agency responsible for public safety), or has the responsibility of notifying the emergency authority of the event characteristics (earthquake and/or tsunami), in accordance with national standard operating procedures. The Tsunami Warning Focal Point receives international tsunami warnings from the NEAMTWS or other regional warning centers.
• Reception of the messages transmitted by the Regional Tsunami Watch Centres
• Evaluate and issue national warnings in accordance with the National Emergency Plan
• Transmission of warning messages to the National Emergency Authorities
• Operating 24/7
To date, five countries have offered to host TWPs: France, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Turkey; Germany has offered to provide backup for data collection and processing. In 2012 some of the national tsunami warning centres will offer interim operational tsunami watch provision, upon request, to the other member states of the NEAM region
Established TWFPs in the NEAM region
Additionally to the TWFP functions,
National Tsunami Warning Centres (NTWCs)
• Collect, record, and process earthquake data for the rapid initial warning (locate the earthquake, the depth, the magnitude, the origin time)
• Compute the arrival time of the tsunami in the national forecasting points
• Collect, record, and process sea level data for confirming or cancelling the warning Warning Centres strive to be:
• Rapid, by providing warnings as soon as possible after a potential tsunami generation
• Accurate, by issuing warnings for all destructive tsunamis while minimizing false warnings
• Reliable, by making sure they operate continuously, and that their messages are sent and received promptly and understood by the users of the system.