National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2024

Technology transfer of PMEL tsunami research protects populations and expands the New Blue Economy

Titov, V.V., C. Meinig, S. Stalin, Y. Wei, C. Moore, and E. Bernard

Oceanography, 36(2–3), 186–195, doi: 10.5670/oceanog.2023.205, View open access article online at Oceanography (external link) (2023)

NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory’s (PMEL’s) approach to tsunami research is unique among such laboratories in that tsunami observations and modeling are under one roof, offering the advantages of enhancing the speed and lowering the cost of developments. Here, we chronicle the history of the transfer of deep-ocean observational and flooding modeling technologies within and outside of NOAA and provide a case study for future transfers. PMEL and partners’ efforts in transferring tsunami technology have been very successful, resulting in improved protection of global communities with high tsunami risk while enhancing the new blue economy. The transfer of observational technology within NOAA required years of effort, while the transfer outside of NOAA only required a patent and license agreement. During the transfer process, three additional generations of observational technologies were created. The transfer of tsunami flooding modeling technology required a validation process for transfer into NOAA operations and an international training program to allow access to the technology by other countries. During this model development, a web-based product was created to simplify the use of and access to these models for both real-time and hazard assessment applications. We present lessons learned from these transfers, including the need for support as long as the technology is in use. The tsunami transfer process created a wealth of economic expansion while protecting coastal citizens from future tsunamis.

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