Effectiveness & Usefulness of Earthquake Early Warning Systems


Presentation 1: Towards next-generation tools for impact-based earthquake early warning (G. Cremen)

To maximise the potential of earthquake early warning (EEW) as a credible tool for seismic resilience promotion, there remains a strong need to develop next-generation tools that use interpretable probabilistic impact-based estimates and account for malfunctions of the system (i.e., false alarms), towards more informed stakeholder decision making on EEW installation/alert triggering. This challenge is addressed in the talk, which presents the results of a state-of-the-art feasibility study for EEW conducted across the continent of Europe. The study involves combining traditional seismologically-driven EEW decision criteria (i.e., lead time) with proxy risk-oriented measures for earthquake impact and alert accuracy. The results show that, under certain conditions, EEW could be particularly effective for areas in Greece, Italy, and Turkey. The findings offer a unique transnational perspective on the potential of EEW that is relevant for intergovernmental bodies – such as the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group of the United Nations – who may be interested in leveraging the technology.

Presentation 2: “Shaking in 5 seconds”-  How did the users of the Earthquake Network app reacted to an Earthquake Early warning in Peru (L. Fallou)

“Shaking in 5 seconds!” - What would you do if you received such a warning on your phone? Would you actually drop, cover and hold as it is often recommended? While there has been an increase in research on EEW in the recent years, the number of studies that investigate the actual reaction of people who receive these warnings remains small. We take here the example of Earthquake Network (EQN), an independent, voluntary, community-based and free system that offers a PEEW service. Through a quantitative survey (n=2,625) we study users’ perception and reaction to a warning sent related to a M8.0 earthquake in Peru (where no national system existed). We observed that even though only a minority of users actually took protective action, the system was appreciated and perceived as useful by the majority, as it enabled mental preparation before the shaking. We found evidence for a tolerance for perceived late, missed and false alerts. However, because it is a voluntary and independent system, the social dimension of the warning was incomplete and many users’ first reaction was to warn their relatives.

Presentation 3: Earthquake Early Warning systems – the societal perspective matters! (I. Dallo)

The societal perspective of EEW systems is crucial to assess in order to increase the usefulness and effectiveness of these systems. The design and content of warning messages, for example, determine whether people take actions or not, i.e. pictograms triggering them to protect themselves on the spot. Further, a good understanding of the public’s concerns and misconceptions allows to tailor communication campaigns accordingly and, consequently, to increase people’s trust in the system. Additionally, knowing the public’s EEW system preferences help define the technical functionalities such as warning thresholds. To conclude, effective development and implementation of an EEW system require the collaboration of different disciplines and the involvement of stakeholders of society including the public.

About the speakers

Gemma Cremen received her PhD in Earthquake Engineering at Stanford University in 2019. Following postdoctoral work in seismic hazard/risk analysis at the University of Bristol and UCL, she became Assistant Professor of Risk and Resilience Engineering at UCL in 2021. Her research develops risk-informed decision-support tools for various natural hazards.

Laure Fallou is a research officer at the EMSC (Euro-Mediterranean Seismological Centre). With a background in sociology, she has been studying over the past five years how cultural factors impact citizens’ reaction to earthquake risk and, more recently, to Earthquake Early Warning Systems. Committed to seismic risk reduction, her research includes risk communication & science communication and places citizens at the centre, notably through citizen seismology.

Irina Dallo I’m Irina Dallo, environmental scientist by training, and hold a Doctor of Sciences from ETH Zurich (Thesis: event-related multi-hazard communication). Currently, I am a postdoctoral associate at the Swiss Seismological Service working on how to best communicate hazard and risk information to the society and how to strengthen transdisciplinary research. Mainly involved in RISE, CORE, DemoUpCARMA


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Further information

This online meeting is organised by Young SECED. For further information, please contact Tina Marinatou (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

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Event Details

Event Date 20/06/2022 12:30 pm
Event End Date 20/06/2022 1:30 pm