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How “good” are real-time ground motion predictions from Earthquake Early Warning systems?

Meier, Men-Andrin (2017) How “good” are real-time ground motion predictions from Earthquake Early Warning systems? Journal of Geophysical Research. Solid Earth, 122 (7). pp. 5561-5577. ISSN 2169-9313. doi:10.1002/2017JB014025.

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Real-time ground motion alerts, as can be provided by Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) systems, need to be both timely and sufficiently accurate to be useful. Yet how timely and how accurate the alerts of existing EEW algorithms are is often poorly understood. In part, this is because EEW algorithm performance is usually evaluated not in terms of ground motion prediction accuracy and timeliness but in terms of other metrics (e.g., magnitude and location estimation errors), which do not directly reflect the usefulness of the alerts from an end user perspective. Here we attempt to identify a suite of metrics for EEW algorithm performance evaluation that directly quantify an algorithm's ability to identify target sites that will experience ground motion above a critical (user-defined) ground motion threshold. We process 15,553 recordings from 238 earthquakes with M > 5 (mostly from Japan and southern California) in a pseudo-real-time environment and investigate two end-member EEW methods. We use the metrics to highlight both the potential and limitations of the two algorithms and to show under which circumstances useful alerts can be provided. Such metrics could be used by EEW algorithm developers to convincingly demonstrate the added value of new algorithms or algorithm components. They can complement existing performance metrics that quantify other relevant aspects of EEW algorithms (e.g., false event detection rates) for a comprehensive and meaningful EEW performance analysis.

Item Type:Article
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Meier, Men-Andrin0000-0002-2949-8602
Additional Information:© 2017 American Geophysical Union. Received 27 JAN 2017; Accepted 8 JUL 2017; Accepted article online 1 JUL 2017; Published online 31 JUL 2017. The author would like to thank Sarah Minson, Elizabeth Cochran, Tom Hanks, Annemarie Baltay, Jennifer Andrews, Egill Hauksson, Tom Heaton, John Clinton, Jeremy Zechar, Stefan Wiemer, Monika Kohler, Zachary Ross, and the ShakeAlert group for discussions and comments. I appreciated the help of Annemarie Baltay and Han Yue with compiling the finite source model data. This research was supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation grants 3023 and 5229 and USGS/NEHRP Cooperative agreement G16AC00355 and the Swiss National Science Foundation. The Japanese waveform data can be downloaded from (last accessed August 2015). We used the Seismic Transfer Program tool from (last accessed September 2014) to retrieve Southern California waveform, catalog, and arrival time data from the Caltech/USGS Southern California Seismic Network (SCSN, doi:10.7914/SN/CI), which is stored at the Southern California Earthquake Center (doi:10.7909/C3WD3xH1). The Next Generation Attenuation-West 1 waveform and metadata were obtained from (last accessed March 2014). The author does not have conflicts of interest of financial or other nature.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation3023
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation5229
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:seismology; Earthquake Early Warning; ground motion prediction; real-time seismology
Issue or Number:7
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170831-145209824
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Official Citation:Meier, M.-A. (2017), How “good” are real-time ground motion predictions from Earthquake Early Warning systems?, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 122, 5561–5577, doi:10.1002/2017JB014025
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:81043
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:31 Aug 2017 22:14
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 19:40

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