Murkowski to NOAA: Update Tsunami Monitoring in Prince William Sound

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, recently sent a letter urging officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to prioritize improvements to tsunami-monitoring in Prince William Sound and throughout Alaska. State officials recently announced the discovery of potential for one of the largest landslide threats in Alaska history at Barry Arm—where an unstable slope sits above a retreating glacier and could trigger a massive tsunami if released.

“The landslide and tsunami threat in Barry Arm could impact hundreds of lives, from local residents to those who fish and recreate in Prince William Sound,” Murkowski said. “I urge NOAA to devote ample resources to improve observation capabilities in the area and to ensure that the U.S. Tsunami Warning System can rapidly notify potentially at-risk communities like Whittier.”

In her letter, Murkowski requested the following:

  • Updates on NOAA’s tsunami-observing capabilities in Prince William Sound;
  • Long-term plans for monitoring the Barry Arm hazard;
  • Timeframe for redeploying a National Data Buoy Center Station in Prince William Sound;
  • Summary of recent improvements to the tsunami warning system in Alaska;
  • Long-term plan for monitoring non-seismic landslide-induced tsunamis;
  • Timeline for when tsunami maps will be updated; and
  • Updates on improvements to the tsunami alert system.

Murkowski spoke today about the Barry Arm hazard with Mike West and David Fee of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute in the latest episode of Murkowski’s Message podcast. Click here for downloadable audio.

Murkowski is Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Related Issues: Energy