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WindSonic installed on Tsunami Warning Systems

Gill’s WindSonic chosen for tsunami detection buoys after tests prove it is the most reliable.

On 22nd September 2015, the Chilean Navy research vessel Cabo de Hornos departed from Valparaiso, Chile, loaded with two experimental 4th generation buoys known as DART-4G (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami) which feature Gill WindSonic ultrasonic wind sensors.

Tsunami buoy - windsonic
DART-4G buoys uses Gill WindSonics for reliable wind speed measurement.

The deployment is part of a trial by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in partnership with the Servicio Hidrografico y Oceanografico de la Armada de Chile (SHOA), to monitor the seismically active Chilean subduction zone.

Tsunami waves involve the movement of water all the way down to the sea floor, but the effects of wind-driven ocean waves are only seen near the surface. In order to distinguish a tsunami wave from wind generated waves, it is essential to have reliable wind measurements.

WindSonic was tested against alternatives and chosen because it was the only anemometer to remain operational in such extreme conditions. With its solid-state ultrasonic technology the WindSonic has a robust corrosion-free construction providing reliable operation for many harsh environmental conditions.

On September 16th 2015 a massive earthquake measuring 8.3 on the Richter scale hit some locations of the Chilean coast causing a 5 metre tsunami. The DART-4G instrument buoys can separate the seismic noise from the tsunami wave signal allowing forecasters to measure the tsunami wave as the earth is still shaking and greatly improve warning time.  As NOAA’s Tsunami Program Director, Michael Angove, described, even an additional 20 minute warning is “an ‘eternity’ in terms of near-field tsunami forecasts where waves can begin inundating coastlines within 15-20 minutes (or less)”.

The NOAA/SHOA research partnership is the result of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by both organizations in June of 2015 and over the next 5 years, the DART-4G instrument buoys with WindSonic, will provide coverage for improved forecasts throughout the Pacific.

For more information on Gill’s range of ultrasonic anemometers contact +44(0)1590 613500.



Sources: US Chile Embassy, Tsunami Alarm Systems, NOAA, SHOA




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