I am a scientist at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC), part of the National Weather Service and NOAA,  where along with my colleagues we monitor the world's oceans 24/7 for tsunami hazards, develop new tsunami hazard detection techniques, and inform emergency managers and the public about our Center's operations and tsunami science.

Before joining the PTWC in 2006 I pursued graduate study and research in Geology and Geophysics in the School of Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, earning a M.S. in these subjects in 1997 and a Ph.D. in 2005. This collaborative work was primarily on subduction zones, submarine volcanoes, and related phenomena using swath-mapping sonars (such as HAWAII MR1) and research submersibles (such as Alvin) to collect our data and samples.  For a list of my peer-reviewed publications please see this link or the one on the left.

All opinions on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent those of the National Weather Service, NOAA, or the U.S. Government.

About the logo: The image at the top of this page is inspired by my earthquake magnitude animation Perspective, the most popular video on my YouTube channel thanks to its positive reception at the S Factor workshop at the 2011 AGU Fall Meeting and subsequent sharing on several web sites. I also suspect that it may have inspired this poster (the timing is right, but I have no way to know for sure).

Recent Announcements

  • Why you should always read a memo before you sign it.
    While I appreciate the sentiment, it would have been a good idea to actually have someone read it before sending it on it's way down the chain of command.

    Posted Nov 29, 2013, 11:49 AM by Nathan Becker
  • "Sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice."
    Dear AGU Attendees,

    DOC and NOAA policy (below) prohibits attendance by NOAA employees at conference-sponsored receptions where alcohol is served. AGU has announced that alcohol will be served at the Ice Breaker reception on Monday December 9 as a consequence, NOAA employees are not authorized to attend this event.

    Jason Donaldson
    CFO/CAO, Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research



    This is a reminder for you to communicate within your offices to those who prepare conferences for approval and those who participate in conferences as defined by DOC and NOAA policy.

    Conference events sponsored or attended should be limited to those necessary to accomplish the goals of the event. Attendance at a reception where alcohol is served is considered an event that could attract undesired media attention regardless of the amount of federal funds involved and participation in such events has been a prohibited as stipulated in the approvals obtained to date from both NOAA and DOC. Other events or activities that have fallen into the stipulated approvals to date are scuba diving excursions, yoga sessions and other event sessions where participation may be considered outside the scope of work related conference activities.

    Thank you in advance for your assistance in maintaining NOAAs compliance with the OMB directive to ensure agencies are exercising appropriate fiscal prudence related to conference spending.

    Additional information regarding conference policy can be found at http://www.corporateservices.noaa.gov/finance/GROUP.html.



    Chief of Staff
    NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research
    1315 East-West Highway
    Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
    Posted Nov 27, 2013, 12:57 PM by Nathan Becker
  • PTWC now has an official YouTube Channel!
    It took more than two years, but PTWC finally has an official presence for sharing its videos. I've migrated my tsunami-themed videos to this new YouTube channel.
    Posted Aug 19, 2013, 12:28 PM by Nathan Becker
  • Hawaii never went into a Tsunami Watch!
    If you've seen the various news reports about the 6 Feb 2013 Santa Cruz Islands earthquake and tsunami (ie., KHON, KITV, & the Honolulu Star-Advertiser) that say PTWC erroneously put Hawaii in a Tsunami Watch for this event, let me state this unequivocally and for the record:  PTWC never put Hawaii into a Tsunami Watch.  Hawaii State Civil Defense (HCSD) and emergency services never mobilized (and had we put Hawaii in the more severe Warning status, HCSD would have sounded their sirens).  PTWC issues two message products for every large earthquake in or near the Pacific Ocean, one for our international customers, and one for our domestic customers (Hawaii).  The domestic message never put Hawaii in a Watch.  Though Hawaii is included in the international message by default, we manually removed it from the international messages to prevent any unnecessary response.  By accident we did leave Hawaii in a later international message (message #5), an error we corrected nine minutes later (message #6).  Besides, for PTWC to put Hawaii into a Watch also requires a phone call to Hawaii State Civil Defense, which of course we didn't make.  As far as I can tell, the folks most inconvenienced by our error were the local media who came out to PTWC in search of a story, and anyone they misinformed.
    Posted Feb 13, 2013, 9:09 PM by Nathan Becker
  • Blog post
    This blog post made my day.  The choice quote is:

    These Tsunami warnings are issued by a team of experts who are the most highly trained, experienced, and respected scientists on the planet with regards to these phenomenon. Just look at the picture. This could be the lineup for the next season of "Big Bang Theory" - but when you want it done right, turbo geeks are a good thing.
    Posted Sep 10, 2012, 9:19 AM by Nathan Becker
Showing posts 1 - 5 of 64. View more »