From Tornadoes to Earthquakes: Forecast Verification for Binary Events Applied to the 1999 Chi-Chi, Taiwan,Earthquake

Abstract

Forecast verification procedures for statistical events with binary outcomes typically rely on the use of contingency tables and Relative Operating Characteristic (ROC) diagrams. Originally developed for the statistical evaluation of tornado forecasts on a county-by-county basis, these methods can be adapted to the evaluation of competing earthquake forecasts. Here we apply these methods retrospectively to two forecasts for the M 7.3 1999 Chi-Chi, Taiwan, earthquake. We show that a previously proposed forecast method that is based on evaluating changes in seismic intensity on a regional basis is superior to a forecast based only on the magnitude of seismic intensity in the same region. Our results confirm earlier suggestions that the earthquake preparation process for events such as the Chi-Chi earthquake involves anomalous activation or quiescence, and that signatures of these processes can be detected in seismicity data using appropriate methods.

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