Republic of Korea joins
tsunami watch

The Republic of Korea has today become the ninth country to sign an agreement with the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) to receive tsunami early warning data. The data are collected by the organization’s global alarm system as it monitors the planet for any evidence of a nuclear explosion in violation of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).

Cho Seok Joon (left), head of the Korean Meteorological Administration and Lassina Zerbo, Director of the CTBTO’s International Data Centre Division, signing the agreement.

This Memorandum of Understanding will contribute to protecting the lives and property of the people of Korea.

The agreement was signed by Cho Seok Joon, Head of the Korea Meteorological Administration and Lassina Zerbo, head of the CTBTO’s International Data Centre Division, who said: “This agreement reinforces our excellent cooperation with the Republic of Korea, which is important for carrying out our mandate of monitoring for nuclear tests.”  The Republic of Korea’s northern neighbour, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), carried out nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.

Primary seismic station PS31 in Wonju, Republic of Korea, is one of the closest to the DPRK's nuclear test site. Click for more information on the station.

Since 2006, the CTBTO has been making data available to tsunami warning centres from its network of seismic stations that register movement in the Earth and hydroacoustic stations that measure sound waves in the oceans. The CTBTO provides the data in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - see article on UNESCO website.

Click to read article by the Executive Secretary of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), Wendy Watson-Wright, in Spectrum 18 (PDF).

The CTBTO is currently sending data to tsunami warning centres in Australia, France, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Turkey and the United States (Alaska and Hawaii).
The International Monitoring System (IMS) will, when complete, consist of 337 facilities worldwide to monitor the planet for signs of nuclear explosions. This network includes 170 seismic, 11 hydroacoustic, 60 infrasound and 80 radionuclide stations, assisted by 16 radionuclide laboratories. Over 85 percent of these facilities have already been installed - see interactive map.

For more information on the Republic of Korea’s cooperation with the CTBTO click here.

From left: Kim Se-won, Director, International Cooperation Division of the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA); Lee Duk Kee, Director, KMA Earthquake Policy Division; Cho Seok Joon, KMA Administrator; Lassina Zerbo, IDC Director; Vorian Maryssael, IMS Director and Lisa Tabassi, Chief, Legal Services Section.