A decade on from the devastating and unprecedented 2004 Tsunami that hit Indian Ocean countries, The University of Western Australia's Professor Chari Pattiaratchi will present a public lecture tonight on the advances in tsunami science and lessons learnt.
The Indian Ocean experienced its most devastating natural disaster through the action of a Tsunami, resulting from an earthquake off the coast of Sumatra on 26 December 2004. Since then mega-tsunamis have also occurred in Chile and Japan.
In his lecture Professor Pattiaratchi will discuss advances in tsunami science as well as the development of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System.
Professor Pattiaratchi will examine Western Australia's ocean topography and explain how deep-water formations, such as the Venin Meinesz seamounts and the Wallaby and Cuvier Plateaus, can impact on the extent of a tsunami's circulation. These formations can cause tsunami waves to detour from their natural path and result in waves being deflected onto the Western Australian coast.
"The 10 year anniversary of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami marks a decade of new understanding in tsunami science with improved observations and computer modelling," Professor Pattiaratchi said. "The establishment of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System is helping us to predict more accurately when a tsunami is generated to provide an early warning to authorities to help mitigate the effects of the tsunami on vulnerable coastlines."
Professor Pattiaratchi will also discuss the presence of tsunami-like waves generated by meteorological effects (‘meteo-tsunamis') that have been a regular occurrence along the WA coastline. Meteo-tsunamis are to blame for events such as the flooding that forced the closure of Perth's Riverside Drive in 2012, and more recently, the cargo ship ripped from its moorings that struck the Fremantle rail bridge in August this year.
The public lecture, co-sponsored by UWA's Oceans Institute and the Institute of Advanced Studies, will be presented at 6pm tonight (Tuesday 28 October) in the University's Woolnough Lecture Theatre.
Professor Chari Pattiaratchi is a Winthrop Professor of Coastal Oceanography at UWA. After experiencing first-hand the effects of the tsunami on a beach in Sri Lanka, Professor Pattiaratchi subsequently became chair of the working group on Tsunami modelling as part of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System.
Professor Pattiaratchi plays an active role in examining climate change effects in coastal regions of Western Australia. He has also played a pivotal role in the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH470.
To register for the event visit www.ias.uwa.edu.au/lectures/pattiaratchi
Anna-lee Harry (UWA Oceans Institute) (+61 8) 6488 7314
Winthrop Professor Chari Pattiaratchi (UWA Oceans Institute) (+61 8) 6488 3179 / (+61 4) 11 139 753
David Stacey (UWA Media Manager) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 32 637 716