The Yahoo News , 26 August 2006

NOAA study defends tsunami center plans

HONOLULU - A study by a federal agency found there is little risk a destructive tsunami would hit the inside of Pearl Harbor, bolstering the agency's case for moving a tsunami warning center there.

The study showed the area would suffer only a "minor inundation" from a tsunami, even under a worst-case scenario, the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration said Friday.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center is currently located in the West Oahu coastal community of Ewa Beach. NOAA plans to consolidate its facilities in Hawaii, including the tsunami center, to Ford Island, a Navy complex within the harbor.

Results of the study, conducted by NOAA's Center for Tsunami Research, were announced two months after an organization of environmental scientists criticized the planned relocation.

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility said the move would put the warning center at greater risk of being hit by a giant wave.

NOAA said its study used three tsunami models that are the basis for the U.S. tsunami forecast system.

"The study validates historic and anecdotal records which show no evidence of destructive tsunamis in Pearl Harbor from distant sources," Eddie Bernard, director of NOAA's Pacific Marine Environment Lab, said in a news release.

NOAA had said it hoped to break ground in August on the $240 million complex that would house the tsunami center and finish construction by 2011.