Good Practices

Establishing good practices are an important legacy of RISE. They are based on RISE activities and developments. Therefore, we have documented good practices and made them openly accessible through this website.

All good practice compilations start with a description of the topic and the respective field. Then, they provide insights into current developments and future paths. The RISE good practices link to specific reports and publications for further reading. Currently, information on the following documentations on good practices are available:

European rapid earthquake loss assessment

How can we fight earthquake misinformation? 

New developments of physics- and statistics-based earthquake forecasting

Earthquake forecast communication

13 good practice guidelines for earthquake forecast communication

Perhaps the most important, but also the most difficult questions that seismologists are asked: "What is the chance of a damaging earthquake happening in this area, and if it does, what are its likely effects?" This is the basis for operational earthquake forecasting (OEF) and operational earthquake loss forecasting (OELF). The answers will always have a lot of uncertainty because earthquakes cannot be predicted. However, we can sometimes tell that they are more likely in certain areas due to movements that have been detected in the earth's crust.

Forecasts like this require careful, precise, honest and unambiguous communication - sometimes to people with little or no grounding in the geological principles underlying the information. They are not warnings, and they are not giving people a 'message' – telling them to do or not do something – they are more complex to communicate than that. How to best deal with this challenge? 13 best practice tips can guide you in communicating OEF.

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European rapid earthquake loss assessment

When an earthquake occurs, there are many remote sensors that record data from the event: waveforms recorded by seismic instruments are used to locate the hypocentre and magnitude of the earthquake and to assess the strong ground shaking at the surface of the earth; people and buildings feel the shaking and observe or record the impact that it has on them. All of these data can be used to rapidly estimate, in the minutes, hours or days following an earthquake, the impact that the earthquake has on the surrounding people, buildings and infrastructure. In the first few minutes following an earthquake, a simple qualitative assessment (e.g., no impact, minor impact, major impact) is often sufficient to understand the magnitude of the event, and this is referred to as Rapid Impact Assessment In the following hours, however, it becomes important to understand the impact in terms of quantitative losses (e.g., number of collapsed buildings, number of fatalities or homeless people, direct economic loss) and this estimation is referred to as Rapid Loss Assessment. This fast assessment of the impact of the earthquake provides first-order estimates of the losses which can be continually updated as more information and data arrive from the remote sensors. 

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How can we fight misinformation?

This good practice introduces a communication guide that a group of international scientists and practitioners developed. The communication guide provides strategies to prevent and fight earthquake misinformation for institutions, practitioners, seismologists and other actors communicating earthquake hazard and risk information to stakeholders of society including the public. In particular, the authors provide general and specific recommendations on how to fight (earthquake) misinformation and a timeline to strategically plan one’s communication efforts. 

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New deveopments in physics- and statistics-based earthquake forecasting

In most regions and countries worldwide, seismic hazard assessment is based on time-independent hazard models. This means that the probability of an earthquake to occur is assumed to be the same today, tomorrow, or in a year from now, irrespective of fluctuations in the time of seismic activity. There is, however, a clear trend towards the use of time-dependent models for Operational Earthquake Forecasting (OEF) systems, as in the United States, in Italy, and New Zealand. One thing that is common to all three examples given here is that all of them are in one way or another based on the Epidemic-Type Aftershock Sequence (ETAS) model. 

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