Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 24 Issue 02

View Issue TOC
Volume 24, No. 2
Pages 222 - 226


OCEAN POLICY • Post-Tsunami Field Surveys are Essential for Mitigating the Next Tsunami Disaster

By Laura Kong  and UNESCO-IOC Post-Tsunami Survey Working Group 
Jump to
Citation References Copyright & Usage
First Paragraph

Post-tsunami field investigations are an essential component for improving our understanding of tsunamis and in developing the tools and programs necessary to mitigate their effects. A destructive tsunami can attract a large number of international, national, and local tsunami professionals interested in conducting post-tsunami science surveys to investigate and document its scientific, economic, and social impact on affected coasts and communities. Science data collected immediately after a damaging tsunami are equally important for government decision makers. In the short term, these data help to better organize and deploy often-limited resources to the most critical areas needing response. In the long term, these data are used for recovery planning that will mitigate losses from the next tsunami. Without a coordination plan that is integrated into government emergency response operations, perishable data may prove to be logistically difficult to gather before erosion or bulldozers eliminate the evidence, and in all likelihood, the operations could interfere and conflict with emergency activities. Additionally, during catastrophic tsunamis, affected areas and local jurisdictions may be simultaneously overwhelmed by many government agencies, nongovernment organizations, and the media all demanding information and/or access, thus making collection of useful data even more challenging unless a coordination and information sharing plan is already in place.


Kong, L., for the UNESCO-IOC Post-Tsunami Field Survey Working Group. 2011. Ocean policy: Post-tsunami field surveys are essential for mitigating the next tsunami disaster. Oceanography 24(2):222–226, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2011.48.


Dengler, L., and the IOC/ITST Core Working Group on the Post-Tsunami Field Guide. 2010. Revision of the IOC/ITST Post-Tsunami Field Guide, (meeting abstract #NH12A-02). Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union.

Kong, L.S., J. Steffen, D. Dominey-Howes, L. Biukoto, A. Titimaea, R. Thaman, and R. Vaa. 2009. A new approach to UNESCO-IOC Post-Tsunami Field Surveys (meeting abstract #U23F-01). Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union.

Synolakis, C.E., and L. Kong. 2006. Runup measurements of the December 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, in Great Sumatra Earthquakes and Indian Ocean Tsunamis of December 26, 2004 and March 28, 2005. Earthquake Spectra 22(S3): S67–S91. [CrossRef]

Synolakis, C.E., and E.A. Okal. 2005. 1992–2002: Perspective on a decade of post-tsunami surveys. Pp. 1–29 in Tsunamis: Case Studies and Recent Developments. K. Satake, ed., Advances in Natural and Technological Hazards Research, vol. 23, Springer, the Netherlands.

UNESCO-IOC. 1998. Post-Tsunami Field Survey Guide. IOC Manuals and Guides 37, UNESCO, Paris, France. Available online at: http://ioc3.unesco.org/itic/files/MG037.pdf (accessed June 2, 2011).

Copyright & Usage

This is an open access article made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution, and reproduction in any medium or format as long as users cite the materials appropriately, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate the changes that were made to the original content. Images, animations, videos, or other third-party material used in articles are included in the Creative Commons license unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If the material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission directly from the license holder to reproduce the material.