Since 2000, Puerto Rico Seismic Network (PRSN) has been working toward establishing a local Tsunami Warning Center for the region. The original goal was to provide a platform for tsunami warnings to Puerto Rico (von Hillebrandt and Huerfano 2006), but this has now evolved into an initiative to create a Caribbean Tsunami Warning Center, which would be a fundamental component of the Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (UNESCO, 2005). Efforts to lay the foundation for this center included the installation of EarlyBird (Sokolowski 2002) at PRSN for the detection and reporting of potentially tsunamigenic earthquakes. This system monitors the seismic stations of PRSN and 35 other stations in and around the Caribbean that are available in real time through the GSN or bilateral agreements with regional seismic networks. Earthworm (Earle et ai. 2003) and SeisComP (Hanka et ai. 2000, http://www.gfz-potsdam.de/geofon/seiscomp/) are used for the real-time exchange of seismic data. During 2006 the network will integrate additional broadband stations into the system: the nine GSN-qualiry stations thar USGS will be installing in the region (McNamara et al. 2006) and stations to be installed in Dutch territories and the Cayman Islands. The goal is to be able to quickly and precisely detect all earthquakes of at least magnitude 5 in the Caribbean region. EarlyBird not only automatically locates earthquakes and provides different magnitudes for the events, it notifies PRSN personnel once specific regional dependent thresholds have been exceeded. In 2006, as part of the warning system, PRSN also will install six FEMA-funded tsunami-ready tide gauge stations in Puerto Rico, in addition to a Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) receiver at Mayagüez, to gather data from these and other regional tide gauges.
To achieve a true Tsunami Warning System, PRSN complements improved monitoring capabilities with a series of research, education, and outreach initiatives. These activities include tsunami inundation modeling, seismic source characterization, protocol development, improved dissemination techniques, production of audiovisual materials, workshops, talks, and drills. In May 2006, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared the city of Mayagüez the first TsunamiReady community in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. The TsunamiReady program has proven to be an excellent venue to promote and validate tsunami readiness and has been widely accepted by local public officials and the media.
All of these monitoring and complementary activities are being coordinated with other local, regional, and international institutions, including the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, the institution presently responsible for providing tsunami warning guidance for the region.