Island-based GNSS-IR network for tsunami detecting and warning

Linlin Li, Qiang Qiu (Corresponding Author), Mai Ye, Dongju Peng, Ya-Ju Hsu, Peitao Wang, Huabin Shi, Kristine M Larson, Peizhen Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Deep-sea tsunami detection relies on Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis (DART), GNSS buoys, and cabled Ocean-Bottom Pressure (OBP) gauges, which are very expensive and difficult to maintain, and often suffer from vandalism or negligent damage. Here, we exploit the potential of establishing a less expensive and more robust island-based geodetic network for tsunami detecting, source reconstruction and warning. The network locates at the coastline of islands and uses a new technique: GNSS Interferometric Reflectometry (GNSS-IR). GNSS-IR retrieves sea levels from combination of the direct and reflected signals from the sea surface sent by satellites. To test the feasibility and efficiency of such a new geodetic network, we use the South China Sea region as an example, and compare its performance in reconciling the variable slip distribution on the Manila megathrust with the previously designed deep-sea monitoring system, i.e., DARTs and planned cable-based OBP gauges. We find that the newly designed GNSS-IR network could work equally well as the cabled OBP network in detecting tsunamis if the stations are built in strategically chosen locations. Combining GNSS-IR with a Kalman filter approach, we demonstrate that carefully situated coastal GNSS stations at global remote deep-ocean islands could function similarly to conventional tide gauges but with advantages of simultaneously measuring relative sea-level and land-height changes, meanwhile suffering lower risk from damaging sea-level events and potential vandalism.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104501
JournalCoastal Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2024


  • Kalman filter
  • Sea level measurement
  • Tsunami warning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering


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