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Sunday 17 July 2005

Tsunami guru & IIT working on tidal atlas

A tsunami atlas is being put together by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpore under the aegis of Professor Tad Murthy, the world’s best-known tsunami scientist, who lives in the US. Murthy, who is camping on the IIT-KGP campus for the next few days, is collaborating with IIT’s CORAL (Centre for Ocean, River, Atmosphere and Land), to chalk out how much time the tidal waves will take to reach coastal locations in 40 countries across the globe.

“The headlines are over. Now if we know how much time we have in hand to remove people from vulnerable locations, then we can at least pre-empt disaster on that scale.

“It’s basically a warning system”, Murthy told Newsline from Kharagpore.

Murthy feels that his work is relevant because over three lakh people died in the 25th December disaster that shook all countries in the Indian Ocean rim.

“At least 15,000 people were killed in India’s coastal regions alone.

“All these people could have been saved if there was either a warning sytem or if one could have anticipated how much time they had to flee from the waves”, said Prof Murthy, who is now attached to the University of Ottowa in Canada.

Murthy’s path-breaking work, which will comprise at least 250 charts, will benefit a minimum of 40 countries, which could be prey to the deadly waves in the future. Murthy’s team will also be working on some models, including the coastal inundation model.

“I will be travelling extensively within India, but I will keep coming back to the IIT to keep an eye on the project”, said Prof Murthy.

Interestingly, the IIT KGP has already set up an observatory for carrying out diverse experiments in weather prediction.

(Source: Kolkata Newsline)

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