(NEW SCIENTIST) — THE world looked on in horror a year ago, as news agencies broadcast eyewitness videos of Japan’s devastating tsunami. Now researchers have used two of these videos to provide new insight into the raging currents involved. This sort of information is crucial to authorities in tsunami-prone zones worldwide as they reconsider their plans in the wake of a disaster that saw almost 20,000 people swept to their deaths.

The engineers behind the analysis are now calling for video cameras to be routinely deployed for tsunami monitoring. “We have the technology: security cameras,” says Costas Synolakis at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. “All we have to do is point them in the right direction.”

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