Quakefinder Blog

QuakeFinder Q1 Newsletter: “False Alarms”

“False Alarms” in Forecasting

This newsletter is a continuation of our series of studies into the sociological aspects of natural disaster forecasting. The intent of these studies is to help QuakeFinder appreciate both the technical and non-technical implications of our evolving technology. We seek to enable an earthquake forecasting system and save lives. Understanding the societal impacts of forecasting will help guide us in our quest.
In this newsletter, we introduce false alarms in disaster forecasting and provide a few recent case studies.

Would you like to know days in advance of an earthquake? How about a few seconds of warning? Most everyone would answer ‘yes’. However, what if the timing was incorrect? What if the forecasted earthquake intensity was off by a few orders of magnitude? Imagine the preparations you would make and your general discomfort while waiting for the big shake that doesn’t happen. The question is: At what point is it ok to issue a public warning when the forecasting system is not always correct? ….
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