The channel connecting Bali and Java made a significant step forward in improving the standard of weather and seismographic reporting with the installation of an automatic weather system monitor (AWS) at Ketapang Harbor, near Banyuwangi, in East Java.
Able to instantly detect changes in wind, water and air temperature, current and wave height - the data recorded by the AWS is immediately accessible to ships and shipping companies. Maintained by the Department of Meteorology and Geophysics, the AWS forms part of a growing network of early warning systems being installed throughout Indonesia in the wake of the tsunami disaster of December 26, 2004.
Ketapang is the critical crossing point from Java to Bali with 22 ferries operating between the port and Gilimanuk in west Bali on a 24 hour basis.
6 separate Tsunami Early Warning Detectors for monitoring the sea approaches to Kuta, Nusa Dua, Sanur and Jembrana are expected to be operational by mid-2006.
According to the Chief of the Denpasar Meteorology and Geophysical Department, S. Budianto, "this equipment can automatically sound a siren warning in the event of a tsunami in as little as 5-10 minutes following an actual earthquake."
According to Budianto, while Bali does not have a history of suffering damage from tsunamis, there are numerous recorded incidents of large waves causing damage on the island's beaches and Bali's position near major geological fault lines could portend a future earthquake sending a tsunami that would touch Bali's shoreline.
Manufactured in France, the new Tsunami Early Warning Detection System are part of a nation-wide system being installed following the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami tragedy.
Positioned to protect Bali's most populous beaches, the warning devices will eventually have real-time connections to cellular telephones and the electronic media.
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