New earth observation technology

In addition to the operational part of the project, the options were investigated for measuring effects on the surface of the ocean or changes in the upper atmosphere that are induced by a tsunami using satellites. There are potentially a multitude of technologies which could be utilised for the purpose. Within the context of the project, these methods and processes were evaluated and investigated with regard to their operational implementability.

Events such as weather fronds, nuclear explosions, volcanic eruptions or earthquakes verifiably cause changes in the atmosphere. The signatures they leave in the plasma density of the ionosphere can be found using differential GPS phase measurement of density changes. Infrasonic waves cause changes in the temperature of the mesopause, which can be measured by infrared spectrometers (e.g. see the GRIPS instrument). On the water surface, high-frequency radar systems are already being used today to monitor surface currents and waves. Active microwave technologies—working independently of weather and illumination— are also suitable for monitoring the sea surfaces.

In addition, the potential of current and planned earth observation sensors to detect geohazards in general is to be evaluated. In view of the fact that UNESCO plans to established a multi-hazard system in the long term, the opportunities provided by new spaceborne radar and optical sensor systems for monitoring changes on the earth’s surface, such as landslides, volcanic activity, tectonic motion and surface deformations, are to be indicated.