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Special Session: Real-time alerts for earthquakes and tsunami.

Chair: Max Wyss

On a global scale, earthquakes can now be reliably located and their magnitude estimated within 10 to 15 minutes.  In local, high performance seismograph networks this is possible within seconds.  From these capabilities derive the following possibilities.  (1) Using a local network (scale up to 300 km), early warnings can be issued, that is, critical facilities may be shut down and people warned before the destructive S-waves arrive.  (2) On a global and regional scale (greater than 300 km), people and facilities may be warned of an approaching tsunami.  (3) Losses due to earthquakes can be estimated within minutes, instead of days, to alert rescue teams of the need to mobilize.  Some of these techniques have been applied for decades, others only recently and still others are mostly in the design stage.  All of the techniques face obstacles to efficient implementation.  Some of these could be removed, if the required funds were available, others need further research and testing to be reduced.  This session aims at summarizing the current level of capabilities to warn and to outline approaches to remove obstacle that still prevent us from effectively helping the population in the struggle against earthquake disasters.

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