Magnitude uncertainties impact seismic rate estimates, forecasts, and predictability experiments

Maximilian J. Werner*, Didier Sornette

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

[1] The Collaboratory for the Study of Earthquake Predictability (CSEP) aims to prospectively test time-dependent earthquake probability forecasts on their consistency with observations. To compete, time-dependent seismicity models are calibrated on earthquake catalog data. However, catalogs contain much observational uncertainty. We study the impact of magnitude uncertainties on rate estimates in clustering models, on their forecasts and on their evaluation by CSEP's consistency tests. First, we quantify magnitude uncertainties. We find that magnitude uncertainty is more heavy-tailed than a Gaussian, such as a double-sided exponential distribution, with scale parameter nu(c) = 0.1- 0.3. Second, we study the impact of such noise on the forecasts of a simple clustering model which captures the main ingredients of popular short term models. We prove that the deviations of noisy forecasts from an exact forecast are power law distributed in the tail with exponent alpha = (a nu(c))(-1), where a is the exponent of the productivity law of aftershocks. We further prove that the typical scale of the fluctuations remains sensitively dependent on the specific catalog. Third, we study how noisy forecasts are evaluated in CSEP consistency tests. Noisy forecasts are rejected more frequently than expected for a given confidence limit because the Poisson assumption of the consistency tests is inadequate for short-term forecast evaluations. To capture the idiosyncrasies of each model together with any propagating uncertainties, the forecasts need to specify the entire likelihood distribution of seismic rates.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberB08302
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Volume113
Issue numberB8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2008

Keywords

  • MOMENT-TENSOR SOLUTIONS
  • EARTHQUAKE SOURCE PARAMETERS
  • REAL-TIME FORECASTS
  • GLOBAL SEISMICITY
  • SHORT-TERM
  • PREDICTION
  • CALIFORNIA
  • HAZARD
  • AFTERSHOCKS
  • HYPOTHESIS

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