Future Developments…A new Frontier

“Seismic Prediction and Real Time Early Warning make a perfect combination”

The recent events within the Italian Courts relating to the confusion in the lead up to the L’Aquila Earthquake 18months ago have highlighted real challenges in how we use earthquake Prediction and Early Warnings information.  I believe that the fault lays with the fact that there has been an attempt use 'Prediction' as a ‘Real Time Early Warning’  methodology without having installed real time early warning alarm and communications systems in place. However as this stands now, relying purely upon prediction will always fail, this will simply repeat the L’Aquila experience, generating enormous uncertainties of scale and timings plus confused decisions and messaging by Governments and media. Whilst the Predictionists 'fight' to be heard, there will always be others to counter their evidence. Consequently we believe a new approach is required. Prediction is of little use to society without the ability to actually trigger an alarm at the onset of the event occurring. We need to remove the guesswork, the surprise, the shock of the event arrival; Society needs to be armed with ‘real time’ early warning sensor and communication systems. Long term Prediction and hazard mapping IS VITAL, so that critical infrastructure is made aware of ‘its’ need to prepare by retrofitting buildings, design of  new build, relocation and protection of National interests……BUT It still remains the question of surprise that causes most of the human casualties and also unnecessary damage and losses to unprepared critical infrastructure. Short term reliable prediction needs to be developed as the key tool in conjunction with real time early warning systems. This combination is available now. The Japanese research shows that with only 2seconds early warning,  25% of casualties can potentially be saved; with 5 only seconds early warning, up to a staggering 80% of casualties maybe saved.   During the Northridge Earthquake in 94, just over 250,000 were affected, 25,000 only requiring formal medical attention, 50 of which were fatalities  BUT this still cost their society $2billion.   With only 50% saving......gives us a $1billion cash fund to install a real time early warning system network. For a small L'Aquila community or Northridge  less than $250,000 is needed.  For a City of Rome, Islamabad, or Madrid, $1million to create an operational network, which every individual can buy into, for less than $100 each. The wrong assumption is that Governments must put a device into everyone individuals hands; Reality is that if  the Network system is created, society will be able to buy into the network for the cost of 20 packets of cigarettes per person. We need prediction...most definitely! Its part of the methodology process to prepare for any hazard type.  It allows us prioritization within regions, preparedness within home, school, office and industry, BUT it needs to be integrated systematically within the Early Warning methodology. And not be relied upon as the only ‘Real Time Early Warning’. Then if we have varying predictions of intensity, IT DOESNT MATTER. because the ‘real time’ early warning alarm system, will identify on the day, the intensity, and IF it reaches certain thresholds, alarms will be triggered. If that threshold is not reached, no harm done! No false alarm!  BUT PLEASE TAKE ALL RELIABLE PREDICTIONS SERIOUSLY. With a 'Real Time Early Warning System' in place, providing a potential of 2 to 90 seconds of Real Time Early Warning prior to arrival of the S-Wave, we can listen confidently, without confusion to the differing Predictions and . International Scientists, using satellite imagery, reliably predicted the L'Aquila and all quakes since the Sichuan Quake, within five days of their occurrence. But its agreed that this information is dangerous, within unprepared communities So the Methodology:
  • Set the parameters for prediction, differentiate between long term prediction and ‘reliable’ prediction of an imminent event
  • Install system networks within install auto device systems into critical infrastructure such as cut off valves, release mechanisms, generator activations, elevator auto realignment [set with their own thresholds]
  • Install a Real Time Early Warning System network throughout the whole community including  emergency services facilities, military facilities, security facilities and Crisis Management facilities , all with their own trigger thresholds.
  • Prepare the people…….awareness education programme of mitigation activities and reactive procedures, with Drills and exercises and media propaganda.
Upon a successful community awareness programme, release the communications option, with relay devices, into the community, integrating into public address systems, offering the opportunity for communications directly into homes, offices and schools. Once the system is set up and society is aware of their required reactions to an alarms system……then you can integrate reliable predictions into Public Awareness programmes, media broadcasts, putting people on standby, preparing the most vulnerable. Schools can practice their drills, critical infrastructure can remove the safety cover off the preverbal trigger mechanism in preparedness; and with the Chinese system, it gives you a ‘countdown’ to the s-wave arrival at your location! And at the event ‘happening’, the central Crisis Coordination Centre will have a full mapping of intensities and affected area within  Minutes. Predictions are vital indicators! But do not pretend that Prediction can be a real time early warning trigger mechanism, but when combined,  its makes the perfect solution.

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