Sonardyne International has delivered tsunami detection technology for incorporation within an advanced warning network being installed in Cyprus.

CSNet of Florida, USA and Limmasol, Cyprus is working with the Oceanography Centre of Cyprus to develop a prototype tsunami warning system to protect Cyprus and the eastern Mediterranean coastline. They have turned to Sonardyne for some of its specialised tsunami warning technology that is already in operation in the Bay of Bengal where a Sonardyne system is being used to help protect the Indian coastline. The order includes sensitive water pressure sensors and a software algorithm developed to control the system.

The Tsunami Warning and Early Response system for Cyprus (TWERC) will differ from other warning systems because of the relatively confined nature of the Mediterranean. Tsunamis originating in the deep ocean may travel thousands of miles before they come ashore and this gives more time to register and distribute a warning. The Mediterranean, on the other hand, is seismically active and could generate a tsunami that hits the coast in less than an hour and this demands a warning system capable of rapid activation and response. The TWERC system will consequently consist of an array of seismometers working in conjunction with the Sonardyne pressure sensors that are configured to create an Offshore Communications Backbone (OCB) that can also support the region’s emerging offshore energy enterprise. The OCB covers several hundred kilometres of seafloor off the southern coast of Cyprus and will provide real-time, continuous communications with a control centre ashore.

TWERC will be using four Sonardyne sensors to detect the changes in water pressure that indicate a tsunami. They will be analysed by the Sonardyne software algorithms that will also generate various messages time-tagged and formatted to meet the specific operational requirements. These messages will be sent at regular intervals and contain data on pressure and seabed system health. The precise message will depend on the status of the system and whether it has been ‘triggered’. The sensors will be hardwired to a power and communications network that provides an immediate link to the shore control centre. This will avoid the delays inherent in mid-ocean systems that use acoustic and satellite communication to relay their warnings.

“The system will include both offshore technology and capacity building on shore, including public education and outreach. Detecting the wave is only part of the solution. Transmitting that warning quickly to a population that knows what to do when they receive it is equally critical.”

Dr. Georgious Georgiou, director of the Oceanography Centre of Cyprus and TWERC project leader

“This system will not only serve to protect citizens and visitors of Cyprus, but also all those along the entire, densely populated eastern Mediterranean coast, a very seismically active region”

Dr. Andrew Clark, president and chief executive officer of CSnet

The success of the Sonardyne tsunami warning system is attributed to its use of proven acoustic technology that is in everyday use in the offshore oil and gas industry. Sonardyne is based in Yateley, UK and is a leading supplier of subsea navigation, positioning and communications systems to the oil and gas and ocean science industries. It is also the leading supplier of advanced underwater security systems and currently leads the industry in its development of Wideband acoustic communications technology.