Bill Menke's BLOG Page: Tsunami Warning Shame

I am appalled that so few were warned of the Dec 26, 2005 Indian Ocean Tsunami! Its true that no real-time detectors of ocean level were operating in the Indian Ocean, so that the fact that a tsunami was on the way could not have been proven. But its also true that 1) within a half hour of the earthquake, many earthquake monitoring groups worldwide knew that a very large earthquake had occured off-shore nortwestern Sumatra; and 2) very large off-shore earthquakes are known to cause tsunamis in a very large percentage of cases. Enough information was there for warnings to have gone out! I have heard it said that no one knew how big the earthquake was until it was too late. This is a lame excuse, as the fact that this was a great earthquake was apparent from the first 30 minutes of data from the Palisades NY seismometer, and a precise body wave magnitude of 9.0 could have been calculated at that time. Similar results could be obtained from nearer seismographic stations (many of which are readily available over the web) in even earlier.