The April 11, 2012, magnitude 8.6 earthquake off the northern coast of Sumatra generated a tsunami that was recorded at sea-level stations as far as 4800 km from the epicenter and at four ocean bottom pressure sensors (DARTs) in the Indian Ocean. The governments of India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Maldives issued tsunami warnings for their coastlines. The United States' Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) issued an Indian Ocean-wide Tsunami Watch Bulletin in its role as an Interim Service Provider for the region. Using an experimental real-time tsunami forecast model (RIFT), PTWC produced a series of tsunami forecasts during the event that were based on rapidly derived earthquake parameters, including initial location and Mwp magnitude estimates and the W-phase centroid moment tensor solutions (W-phase CMTs) obtained at PTWC and at the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS). We discuss the real-time forecast methodology and how successive, real-time tsunami forecasts using the latest W-phase CMT solutions improved the accuracy of the forecast.
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Real-time forecasting of the April 11, 2012 Sumatra tsunami