Early warning system

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
A HSS Engineering TWS 295 electronic sirens warning Civil Defense siren.

An early warning system is a warning system that can be implemented as a chain of information communication systems and comprises sensors, event detection and decision subsystems for early identification of hazards. They work together to forecast and signal disturbances that adversely affect the stability of the physical world, providing time for the response system to prepare for the adverse event and to minimize its impact.[1]

To be effective, early warning systems need to actively involve the communities at risk, facilitate public education and awareness of risks, effectively disseminate alerts, and warnings and ensure there is constant state of preparedness.[2] A complete and effective early warning system supports four main functions: risk analysis, monitoring and warning; dissemination and communication; and a response capability.[3]


Risk analysis involves systematically collecting data and undertaking risk assessments of predefined hazards and vulnerabilities. Monitoring and warning involves a study of the factors that indicate a disaster is imminent, as well as the methods used to detect these factors. Dissemination and communication concerns communicating the risk information and warnings to reach those in danger in a way that is clear and understandable. Finally, an adequate response capability requires the building of national and community response plan, testing of the plan, and the promotion of readiness to ensure that people know how to respond to warnings.

An early warning system is more than a warning system, which is simply a means by which an alert can be disseminated to the public.

In defense[edit]

Early-warning radars like the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System are on system of technology used for detecting potential missile attacks. Throughout human history the warning systems that use such have malfunctioned several times, including some nuclear-weapons-related false alarms.[4]

The easiest or most likely artificial signals from Earth to be detectable from around distant stars are brief pulses transmitted by such anti-ballistic missile (ABM) early-warning and space-surveillance radars during the Cold War and later astronomical and military radars.[5][6]

For natural disasters[edit]

Scientists are researching and developing systems to predict eruptions of volcanoes, earthquakes and other natural disasters.[7][8][9]


An animation detailing how earthquake early warning systems work: When P-waves are detected, the readings are analyzed immediately, and, if needed, the warning information is distributed to advanced users and cell phones, radio, television, sirens, and PA systems/fire alarm systems before the arrival of S-waves.
An earthquake warning system or earthquake early warning system is a system of accelerometers, seismometers, communication, computers, and alarms that is devised for notifying adjoining regions of a substantial earthquake while it is in progress. This is not the same as earthquake prediction, which is currently incapable of producing decisive event warnings.

For diseases[edit]

Early warning systems could be developed and used to prevent and mitigate pandemics, e.g. before they spillover from other animals to humans, and disease outbreaks.[10][11]

For climate adaptation[edit]

Because of changes in extreme weather and sea level rise, due to climate change, the UN has recommended early warning systems as key elements of climate change adaptation and climate risk management.[12] Flooding, cyclones and other rapidly changing weather events can make communities in coastal areas, along floodzones and reliant on agriculture very vulnerable to extreme events.[12] To this end the UN is running a partnership titled Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems to aid high risk countries with neglected warning systems in developing them.[12]

European countries have also seen early warning systems help communities adapt to drought, heat waves, disease, fire, and other related effects of climate change.[13] Similarly the WHO recommends early warning systems to prevent increases in heatwave related morbidity and disease outbreaks.[14]


Since the Indian Ocean tsunami of 26 December 2004, there has been a surge of interest in developing early warning systems.[15][16] However, early warning systems can be used to detect a wide range of events, such as vehicular collisions, missile launches, disease outbreaks, and so forth. See warning system for a wider list of applications that also can be supported by early warning systems.

EWS Observer Controller Model and the Subsystem

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Waidyanatha, Nuwan (2010). "Towards a typology of integrated functional early warning systems". International Journal of Critical Infrastructures. No 1. 6: 31–51. doi:10.1504/ijcis.2010.029575. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
  2. ^ Wiltshire, Alison (2006). Developing Early Warning Systems: A Checklist (PDF). Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Early Warning EWC III, Bonn (Germany).
  3. ^ "Basics of early warning". Retrieved 2014-08-07.
  4. ^ "False Alarms in the Nuclear Age". PBS. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  5. ^ Haqq-Misra, Jacob; Busch, Michael W.; Som, Sanjoy M.; Baum, Seth D. (1 February 2013). "The benefits and harm of transmitting into space". Space Policy. 29 (1): 40–48. arXiv:1207.5540. Bibcode:2013SpPol..29...40H. doi:10.1016/j.spacepol.2012.11.006. ISSN 0265-9646. S2CID 7070311. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  6. ^ Sullivan, W. T., III (1980). "Radio leakage and eavesdropping". Strategies for the Search for Life in the Universe. Astrophysics and Space Science Library. 83: 227–239. Bibcode:1980ASSL...83..227S. doi:10.1007/978-94-009-9115-6_20. ISBN 978-90-277-1226-4. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  7. ^ "New Zealand scientists invent volcano warning system". The Guardian. 19 July 2020. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  8. ^ Sakuno, Yuji (January 2021). "Trial of Chemical Composition Estimation Related to Submarine Volcano Activity Using Discolored Seawater Color Data Obtained from GCOM-C SGLI. A Case Study of Nishinoshima Island, Japan, in 2020". Water. 13 (8): 1100. doi:10.3390/w13081100.
  9. ^ "Can NASA predict natural disasters?". HowStuffWorks. 3 March 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  10. ^ "AI may predict the next virus to jump from animals to humans". Public Library of Science. Retrieved 19 October 2021.
  11. ^ Mollentze, Nardus; Babayan, Simon A.; Streicker, Daniel G. (28 September 2021). "Identifying and prioritizing potential human-infecting viruses from their genome sequences". PLOS Biology. 19 (9): e3001390. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.3001390. ISSN 1545-7885. PMC 8478193. PMID 34582436.
  12. ^ a b c Nations, United. "Early Warning Systems". United Nations. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  13. ^ "Establishment of early warning systems — Climate-ADAPT". climate-adapt.eea.europa.eu. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  14. ^ "Early warning systems". www.who.int. Retrieved 2021-04-19.
  15. ^ Basher, Reid (15 August 2006). "Global early warning systems for natural hazards: systematic and people-centered". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. 364 (1845): 2167–2182. Bibcode:2006RSPTA.364.2167B. doi:10.1098/rsta.2006.1819. PMID 16844654. S2CID 6252454.
  16. ^ "Japan provides early warning example". UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. 15 Mar 2015.