The Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Tsunami and other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE-EWS) of Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States of America, and the US National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NTHMP) will be conducting Exercise Caribe Wave/Lantex 14 on 26 March 2014. The purpose of this exercise is to assist tsunami preparedness efforts in the Caribbean and Adjacent regions, including U.S. and Canadian East coasts.
The Caribe Wave/Lantex 14 tsunami scenario simulates a tsunami generated by a M 8.5 earthquake located approximately 270 km off the Portugal coast. The initial dummy message will be issued by the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) and the National Tsunami Warning Center (NTWC) on 26 March 2014 at 10:05 UTC (Universal Time Coordinated), and disseminated over all their standard broadcast channels. The dummy message is issued to test communications with Tsunami Warning Focal Points (TWFPs) and Emergency Management Organizations (EMOs), and to start the exercise. It will be the only exercise message broadcast from the PTWC/NTWC, excluding special email messages.
Historical tsunami records from sources such as the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) show that over 75 tsunamis with high validity have been observed in the Caribbean over the past 500 years (Figure 1). These represent approximately 7–10 % of the world’s oceanic tsunamis. Earthquake, landslide, and volcanic tsunami sources have all impacted the region. Since 1842 almost 3,500 people have lost their lives to tsunamis in the Caribbean. In recent years, there has been an explosive population growth and influx of tourists along the Caribbean and Western Atlantic coasts increasing the tsunami vulnerability of the region.
Tsunami warning services for the international Caribbean are currently provided by the U.S. NWS Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) in Ewa Beach, Hawaii, while the U.S. NWS National Tsunami Warning Center (NTWC) in Palmer, Alaska, provides services for Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, and the East and Gulf Coasts of the U.S. and East Coast of Canada. These centres issue tsunami products to the region approximately two to ten minutes after an earthquake’s occurrence.
The Puerto Rico Seismic Network (PRSN) of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, Instituto Nicaraguense de Estudios Territoriales (INETER) in Nicaragua, La Fundación Venezolana de Investigaciones Sismológicas (FUNVISIS) in Venezuela, and other national and regional institutions, also provide earthquake and tsunami information for their Areas of Responsibility (AoR).