How Technology and Science Helped to Prepare Japan for the Unexpected

The horrible events that unfolded off of the coast of Japan these past several days feel like it was Mother’s Natures most intense attempt at destruction. This very advanced society was not able to stave off the ability of Mother Nature to take charge when she feels like it. Japan understands that its placement in the world makes it very prove to earthquakes and the tsunamis that follow. Japan is in perfect placement in the “Ring of Fire” to be susceptible to a large earthquake and the tsunami that follows.

Japan has taken steps to have an early-warning system in place which is named the DART (Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunami). In this advanced system a combination of surface and ocean floor readings are used to analyze a multitude of calculation that assist in determining the intensity of an earthquake or tsunami. This early warning system was able to save the lives of thousands of Japanese citizens due to the mechanisms built into the system to alert people thought their television and cell phones. Additionally, the fail-safe mechanisms built into industrial and transportation systems cause them to automatically shut down during such occurrences to minimize damage.

A Japanese tsunami detection buoy

This advanced this system may be able to alert the people of Japan about an imminent threat, however the placement of this event next to 4 nuclear power stations could not have been written better. The vulnerability of these stations due to their close proximity to water sources for cooling purposes do make them extremely vulnerable to such acts of God.  The exponential complications that will now unfold in the coming days will highlight how destructive and long lasting this event will be on the people of Japan.

Although this author does not have much to add to this horrible catastrophe I truly hope that the coming days will paint a much better picture than that which is being reported on recently. I am confident that the people of Japan can rebound from this horrible act, but the amount of time it will take will be the question at hand. The buildings, infrastructure, and lives that were built in these places in Japan took decades, even centuries, to construct were swept away with one precisely placed natural even.

The lawmakers in America should most definitely take this event as a warning of what could happen to our West Coast. The densely populations cities of San Diego, San Fransisco and Los Angeles can most definitely be threatened by an tsunami from the Ring of Fire. The GOP lawmakers have proposed massive cuts for the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) which are not only integral in the Pacific early warning system, but can be used to progress our scientific community. It only takes one time to cause massive damage and destruction for people to realize that change needs to be made. How about we try to ready for that spontaneous occurrence of Mother Nature’s fury because you can always rebuild a building, but no amount of money will bring back people that could have been protected.


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