ABSTRACT

We report on seismic and tsunami monitoring and early warning systems in Nicaragua and Central America, regions that are bordered by plate boundaries and subduction zones with related high seismic and tsunami risks. These systems were established in Nicaragua only after big earthquake and tsunami disasters (that took place in Managua in 1972 and the Pacific coast in 1992, respectively). The Nicaraguan seismic network is well developed, and the National Tsunami Warning System (NTWS) is a model for the Central American region. In 2015, the Central American countries and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), along with the Tsunami Warning Systems (TWS) for the Pacific and the Caribbean, accepted Nicaragua’s proposal to create a regional TWS that would improve tsunami services for Central America. In 2016, Instituto Nicaragüense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) started to develop the Central American Tsunami Advisory Center (CATAC) and intensified cooperation and real‐time data exchange with regional seismic networks and civil protection institutions. INETER initiated a project with the Japanese cooperation to reinforce CATAC until full services would be established in 2019. Since 2016, INETER has been cooperating with the Swiss Seismological Service (SED) to develop earthquake early warnings (EEW) in Nicaragua and Central America. EEW, besides being favorable for tsunami warning, could help compensate for the extreme seismic vulnerability of millions of homes in Nicaragua and Central America that are made from adobe or other bad construction materials. Alerts, received just a few seconds before the destructive shaking, could permit inhabitants of adobe houses to leave their collapsing homes, thus saving their lives.

You do not currently have access to this article.