New Zealand’s tectonic setting in the Pacific puts us at risk from many different tsunami sources, some may be generated and arrive at our nearest coasts in less than an hour.
To help our experts, we and our partners are deploying a network of deep ocean tsunami sensors to the north and east of New Zealand. DART (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami) sensors are deep-ocean instruments that monitor changes in sea level. They are currently the only accurate way to rapidly confirm a tsunami has been generated before it reaches the coast.
The DART network consists of pairs of ocean bottom pressure sensors which record water height and surface buoys which transmit that data via satellite transmission to GNS Science and on to global and regional monitoring partners. The data helps scientists provide advice on whether a tsunami has been generated or not, more accurate estimates on how big the waves could be if they reach our coast and when they might reach us. The sensors are particularly valuable for monitoring potential tsunami from earthquakes in the Southwest Pacific that may be unfelt on the New Zealand mainland.
The network also provides monitoring and detection information for Tokelau, Niue, the Cook Islands, Tonga and Samoa. For more information on the DART sensors visit the NEMA page here.
The DART Sensor Network has been made possible by funding from MBIE and MFAT, and carried out in partnership between NEMA, GNS Science and NIWA, with support from SAIC.
As we are still implementing this system, we currently only have short-term data access mechanisms open for tsunami expert users. If that applies to you, and you would like access to the data, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org