Improving earthquake forecasting by correlations between strong earthquakes and NOAA electron bursts

  • Author(s): Cristiano Fidani
  • DOI: 10.3319/TAO.2017.10.06.01
  • Keywords: NOAA POES, Ionosphere, Earthquake, Forecasting probability
  • A correlation between NOAA electron bursts and large earthquakess was confirmed
  • The correlation was stable with respect to binning and time extension of the analysis
  • Earthquake forecasting probability increased proportionallly to the correlation

NOAA polar orbiting satellite electron flux data have been studied for their time correlations with earthquakes. Electron and proton bursts have also been studied when precipitating into the atmosphere, in order to distinguish correlations with seismic activity from seasonal variations of particle fluxes and solar activity. Data from the dusk/noon NOAA-15 have been analysed using a set of adiabatic coordinates. Specifically, electron and proton data from July 1998 to December 2014 have been compared with nearly 1,500 main shocks occurring worldwide during the same period, all with magnitudes greater than or equal to 6. When considering 30 - 100 keV precipitating electron bursts, detected by the vertical NOAA-15 telescope and earthquake epicentre projections at altitudes greater than 1,400 km, a significant correlation was observed. The electron precipitation excesses were detected 2 - 3 hours prior to large seismic events. The stability of this correlation was observed also when considering different electron bursts at each satellite semi-orbit; even if the correlation distribution was no longer a Poissonian. The significance of the correlation peak was evaluated utilising a super-Poissonian distribution. The observation of precipitating electron bursts was used to calculate an increasing probability of strong earthquake occurrence for the Indonesian Region. 

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