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The Limits of Earthquake Early Warning Accuracy and Best Alerting Strategy

Minson, Sarah E. and Baltay, Annemarie S. and Cochran, Elizabeth S. and Hanks, Thomas C. and Page, Morgan T. and McBride, Sara K. and Milner, Kevin R. and Meier, Men-Andrin (2019) The Limits of Earthquake Early Warning Accuracy and Best Alerting Strategy. Scientific Reports, 9 . Art. No. 2478. ISSN 2045-2322. PMCID PMC6385233. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-39384-y.

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We explore how accurate earthquake early warning (EEW) can be, given our limited ability to forecast expected shaking even if the earthquake source is known. Because of the strong variability of ground motion metrics, such as peak ground acceleration (PGA) and peak ground velocity (PGV), we find that correct alerts (i.e., alerts that accurately estimate the ground motion will be above a predetermined damage threshold) are not expected to be the most common EEW outcome even when the earthquake magnitude and location are accurately determined. Infrequently, ground motion variability results in a user receiving a false alert because the ground motion turned out to be significantly smaller than the system expected. More commonly, users will experience missed alerts when the system does not issue an alert but the user experiences potentially damaging shaking. Despite these inherit limitations, EEW can significantly mitigate earthquake losses for false-alert-tolerant users who choose to receive alerts for expected ground motions much smaller than the level that could cause damage. Although this results in many false alerts (unnecessary alerts for earthquakes that do not produce damaging ground shaking), it minimizes the number of missed alerts and produces overall optimal performance.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Minson, Sarah E.0000-0001-5869-3477
Baltay, Annemarie S.0000-0002-6514-852X
Cochran, Elizabeth S.0000-0003-2485-4484
Page, Morgan T.0000-0001-9321-2990
Meier, Men-Andrin0000-0002-2949-8602
Additional Information:© 2019 The Author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit Received 06 August 2018; Accepted 23 January 2019; Published 21 February 2019. Thank you to our journal peer reviewers for their helpful suggestions. We thank Nick Beeler, Ben Brooks, and Steve Hickman for providing reviews that greatly improved the manuscript, and Brad Aagaard for useful discussions of alert classification. Author Contributions: S.E.M. ran analysis. A.S.B. provided GMPE analysis inputs. E.S.C. provided EEW expertise. T.C.H. provided damage modeling expertise. M.T.P. provided UCERF3 expertise. S.K.M. provided background about natural hazards warning. K.R.M. provided the catalog of UCERF3 scenario ruptures. M.-A.M. contributed useful discussion. The authors declare no competing interests.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
PubMed Central ID:PMC6385233
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190225-083454253
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:93198
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:25 Feb 2019 16:40
Last Modified:01 Mar 2022 18:21

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