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Le Moyne Professor Testifies Before Congress on Tsunami Readiness

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (For Immediate Release) … Martha Grabowski, director of the information systems program and chair of the business administration department at Le Moyne College, testified before Congress on Wednesday, Sept. 15, on the nation’s tsunami readiness. Grabowski serves as vice-chair of a committee convened to review progress toward tsunami preparedness in the United States following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

According to the committee’s report, U.S. tsunami detection has improved since 2004, but many coastal communities remain at risk because the government is unprepared to quickly warn people of an approaching tsunami like the one that ravaged Southeast Asia.

The United States is particularly ill-equipped to give warning of close-to-shore tsunamis that arrive less than an hour after a seismic event such as an earthquake, landslide, volcanic eruption or meteorite, according to the 266-page study by the National Research Council.

In its assessment, which took more than two years, the 14-member committee considered measures in the tsunami detection, forecast, and warning program implemented and planned by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under the Tsunami Warning and Education Act passed by Congress in 2006. The committee examined the effectiveness of this system for both near- and far-source tsunamigenic events. The report highlights opportunities to improve the nation’s tsunami preparedness in the future and identifies novel, promising approaches to risk management and instrumental warning systems.

The report can be read in its entirety here.

Grabowski has worked in the area of risk management for many years. She was among the first experts called when the Exxon tanker Valdez ran aground in Alaska in 1989. Later Grabowski was awarded a multi-year government contract to design an on-board computer console to better enable people at the helm of a ship to see where they are and to identify potential hazards surrounding them. She was honored by the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council with lifetime appointment as a national associate, in recognition of extraordinary service to the National Academies. She is currently chairing another National Academies committee examining the future of naval engineering in the 21st century.

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posted on: 9/17/2010