Seminar on potential civil and scientific applications of CTBT verification technologies

A seminar on the potential civil and scientific applications of the four IMS verification technologies sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Australia, Japan, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom took place at the Vienna International Centre on 15 October 2002. The seminar was a follow-up on the senior experts discussion on civil and scientific applications of the CTBT verification technologies held in London, 9-10 May 2002. Fifteen senior experts and scientists from thirteen States representing all six geographical regions of the Treaty had attended the London seminar and discussed some of the benefits States can gain from participating in the CTBT verification regime.

Peter Marshall, a UK seismology expert and chairman of the London seminar, presented an overview of potential International Monitoring System and On-Site Inspections technology applications. He covered fields including earthquake monitoring, tsunami prediction, monitoring of underwater volcanoes and ocean processes, meteorology relevant to climate change and nuclear accidents as well as the potential use of findings deriving from geological mapping conducted during an on-site inspection.

Using the example of seismic technologies, Mr. Marshall pointed out the important role the 170 IMS seismic stations could play in earthquake monitoring by improving the timeliness of reports, better directing of emergency relief services, improved aftershock monitoring and enhanced research of the Earth's structure. With a dramatic live video clip from a KLM flight endangered by ash from a volcanic explosion, Mr. Marshall underlined the potential benefits of infrasound technology applications for aviation safety.

In concluding his presentation, Mr. Marshall stressed the fact that all potential civil and scientific applications of IMS technologies depended on data availability. The International Data Centre (IDC) processes raw data collected by the IMS stations network and makes it available to States in the form of Event Bulletins. It is up to the States to make the data available for civil and scientific applications. Mr. Marshall underlined also the importance of synergies with other technologies in the discussed fields, which have not yet been explored.

After a brief questions-and-answers session, Ambassador Liviu Aurelian Bota of Romania, Chairman of the Preparatory Commission, presented his concluding remarks. He underlined the need for a follow-up, such as further expert discussions, increased exchange of information and technical knowledge between States Signatories and increased State participation in upgrading national technological capacities.

An information brochure on the potential civil and scientific applications of the CTBT verification technologies was distributed to the participants of the seminar and is available in pdf format on the public web site.