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Italy launches new sea level observation network to help enhance the detection, monitoring of tsunamis, and other sea level hazards in the Mediterranean Region

Date: 23 September 2021

The National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA) launched in May 2021, within the SiAM- Italian National Alert System for Tsunamis framework, a program for enhancing the implementation of high precision and high-frequency long wave measurement network with the installation of six new stations for sea-level measurement able to withstand severe operating conditions. The new stations will support the monitoring of sea level and sea state at high precision and accuracy, thus enhancing the detection and monitoring of tsunamis and other sea-level related hazards in that particular region. 

The new sea level tide gauge stations are located almost offshore in Cetraro Lido (Calabria), Capo Teulada (Sardinia), Portopalo di Capo Passero (Sicily), Roccella Jonica (Calabria) and on the small islands of Marettimo (Sicily) and Pantelleria (Sicily).

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New tide gauge station network locations (blue icons).

The new sea-level gauges have been placed in such locations to help improve timely alerts and confirm potential tsunami events along the Central and Southern Tyrrhenian Sea, the Sicilian Channel and the Ionian Sea. They are acquired at high sampling rate, with very robust infrastructures, and are currently used for tsunami monitoring by the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), also serving as a Tsunami Service Provider for the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the North-eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean and Connected Seas Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (ICG/NEAMTWS) member States.

The innovative sea-level stations  are equipped with a piezometric sensor and a thermistor and a video camera with real-time data transmission system (UMTS and Iridium) onboard. A mobile application can be downloaded through the server, making this information easily attainable within your own pockets and phones while, data are available in real-time to the public through the ISPRA-SiAM-TAD-Server at the following platform:  https://tsunami.isprambiente.it/TAD_Server/Home 

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sea vs time plotExamples of sea level data for the Teulada (Sardinia) new station

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO Secretariat for the ICG/NEAMTWS and Working Groups 2 and 3 on Seismic, Geophysical and Sea Level measurements welcomed this technological innovation and contribution to Italy’s Tsunami Alert System and NEAMTWS, supporting the delivery of essential information needed for our sustainable development, safety, wellbeing and prosperity.