Friday, March 25, 2005

The "Control" Issue May Be Biggest Obstacle

In less than two hours I'll ask Pacific Tsunami Warning Center Director Dr. Charles McCreery about several fundamental aspects of the tsunami warning issue. One of them is the issue of "control."

Dr. McCreery attended the Paris meeting described in the March 23 post; a report on the meeting linked here contains the following paragraph in the Communique section:

11. Agree that the Member States should have the responsibility to have control over the issuance of warning within their respective territories;

The wording is murky. Does "should have the responsibility to have control" mean "should control", or does it mean something else? Whatever it means, "control" is probably what it's all about.

How can a global tsunami warning issued by one or more international news organizations coexist with this agreed-to control provision of the Communique? Maybe it can't. Maybe the ability to issue an ocean-wide warning minutes after a tsunami is suspected is undercut by the requirement for Member States "to have control over the issuance of warning (sic) within their respective territories."

If that were the case, "control" would seem to trump "effectiveness." Let's hope my visit to the Center today -- exactly three months to the minute after the Indonesia earthquake and resulting tsunami -- dispells that notion.

Doug Carlson
Honolulu, HI
March 25, 2005

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