‘Earths’ Last Bastion of GeoPhysical Disaster Defiance Potentially Tamed
A Novel Advanced Earthquake Early Warning System
Within the UNISDR/UNDRR proactive strategies since 2005, early warning provision has been a critical element to be established across society for multiple hazards. Meteorological early warning developed through the WMO has made significant advancements, improving not only imminent wind and rainstorm but also flooding awareness and consequential cascade events hours and often days in advance, significantly reducing casualties and improving asset protection over the past 15years. Volcanoes have also become a reduced risk through monitoring; and landslide risks are beginning to be better understood. However, seismic activities can trigger their own cascade events such as landslides, dam breaches and glacier breakouts, causing moraine collapses with debris flows and, river blockages and spontaneous urban fires and infrastructure and health service failure.
However, Earthquakes remain our greatest spontaneous risk, killing thousands and ruining livelihoods and unprepared infrastructure, all still reliant upon very short term 10 to 60 second p-wave early warning systems, still under development, which devastatingly remain unable to protect the most vulnerable within the ‘blind zone’ of 25km radius of an epicentre; and even beyond the ‘blind zone’, an early warning cannot be initiated until the rupture commences.
Since the evolution of Lehmann’s study of seismic shock waves in the 1920’s and her published theory in 1936 that the earth’s core was molten rock and not solid, which was subsequently proven some 30 years later with the onset of more sensitive seismographs in the 1970s, further understanding of earthquakes has been limited and slow to evolve. Only since the late 2000s with the development of p-wave observations was the 5 to 60 second advanced warning generated before the impending destructive s-wave arrival; although still limited to outside of the 25km radius high mortality/ asset destructive epicentral blind zone.
Not until recently, after a 15year hunt for understanding the pre-earthquake processes, of not only identifying the genesis of an earthquake, but also capturing its emitted seismic gravity wave (SGW) signature, enabling its analysis and observed relationship with precursor anomaly events, have we now accelerated a comprehensive application process of creating a novel Advanced Earthquake Early Warning System [AEEWS is IP of Ertha Technologies Inc]; generating through Earth observation satellites and surface data assimilation of pre-earthquake signals, a focussed awareness of the potential seismic event zone, then innovatively followed by using a bespoke regional SGW network, generating with a 95% assurity, the identification of the precise epicentre zone, its magnitude range, up to four days in advance for larger 6.0+M earthquakes; thus creating opportunities to not only minimise the majority of potential casualties but also pioneeringly establish economic resilience and continuity through critical infrastructure, personal asset and livelihood risk ‘advanced short term mitigation strategies’.
AEEWS Potentially eliminating the majority of casualties within an earthquake
To achieve the various 2030 goals of the Sendai Framework, seven critical global targets have been agreed, an additional two of the seven will, unlike any earthquake early warning system previously, significantly benefit from the AEEWS, so not only to satisfy casualty protection ‘Priority A’ and early warning implementation ‘Priority G’ but equally generate personal, commercial and infrastructure asset protection opportunities within ‘Priority C’ and ‘Priority D’, from which livelihood continuity and recovery are significantly benefitted.
mortality between 2020-2030 compared to 2005-2015;
- Substantially reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030,
- Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to global gross domestic product by 2030;
- Substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services,
- Substantially increase the number of countries with disaster risk reduction strategies
- Substantially enhance international cooperation
- Substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and
disaster risk information and assessments to the people by 2030
AEEWS response to Covid19 Pandemic and other crisis events
Disaster Risk Reduction is about mitigating risks…prioritised as per the Sendai Framework; and during any pandemic other risks do not disappear. In fact, other risks are magnified due to the difficulty to manage them whilst complying with a pandemic restriction of movement and social distancing. However, unlike most risks that can escalate from natural or manmade hazards into instant crisis due to their unpredictability generating an untimely tension response, such as fire, flash floods, tornadoes, landslides and lightening, earthquakes can now potentially be released from such traditional unpredictability by embracing the AEEWS; enabling communities and general population to be managed efficiently and safely in advance, with days of pre planning and organisation by authorities, initiating final coordinated population response during the preceding hours to the earthquake, safely, calmly within pandemic with social distancing and due diligent pandemic protection, and for other potential simultaneous crisis such as flood and wild fires, resources can be allocated in advance.
Consequently, the adverse effects of potential cascade or complex evolving events involving seismic activity can now be more efficiently managed, continuing to minimise casualties and aid saving of protectable assets. All because the AEEW System provides a precise time window of the seismic event, its epicentre and magnitude, authorities and a trained society can intelligently and collaboratively respond in advance, regardless of adverse or seasonal weather, other crisis or time of day. AEEWS potentially changes the face of earthquake response and mitigation within all crisis scenarios.
Eventual AEEWS “Watch” could save seismic affected Nations billions of $dollars
However, in order to achieve the SFA target deadline of 2030, there is a ‘several years’ process of implementation and the clock is ticking. A Transborder network is necessary, due to the nature of the systems SGW monitoring requirements, consequently the funding also becomes complicated as no other such transborder system globally has ever been attempted at such a scale and across so many political, economic, cultural as well as geographical divides. Fortunately, a global network only requires approximately 250 sensor hub locations to satisfy the necessary data acquisition [present p-wave EW systems require that at minimum per country; China uses 7,500 and Japan 4000 sensors to achieve a maximum of 60seconds of earthquake early warning]; the first phase at regional focused level needing only 25 sensors, with between 1 and 5 sensors per participating country, so the onerous is not upon the hardware installation, but upon the analysis teams within the EU and US and also importantly in order to kickstart the whole project, there is the need for collaborations of potential international donors or commercial sponsors. The project now seeks an amalgamation of seed funding and interim 1st three-year project initiation funding, from whence an AEEW service provision to all focus Nations will be established, globally expanding incrementally.
An Introductory 1st year Phase One implementation is estimated at a set up cost for less of $5m, to independently establish the core network, along with the data processing centers; followed within a further two years by a fully functional regionally focused multi-parameter integrated system with 95%+ surety for less of $45m to be established in Central Asia. The systems complexity understandably lays within the data collation and analysis, which over time will be embraced by AI.
However as absurd as it may seem for such an advancement in Earthquake Early Warning provision, the take up is hesitant; for several reasons. 1. Few seismologists and even fewer decision makers have ever heard of, let alone understand the baseline science. 2. The need of a transborder collaborative approach, even if coordinated by the AEEWS Ertha Team using world-wide satellite and ground sensor data collation and analysis centers, raises geopolitical questions. However, the team have addressed this in their project proposals to undermine political reticence and preserve network functionality, whilst protecting national sovereign control of early warning service provision within country. 3. Critically, to date no other regional or global network of early warning service provision has ever been attempted across so many cultures, political divides and geographical boundaries, requiring even non-seismic risk nations to potentially participate in sensor hosting, which creates a quandary for the finance buffs. Even the large International Finance Agencies finance models do not access and facilitate all of the necessary network host countries, thus a single finance provision seems unlikely.
Consequently, potentially a whole new Finance model needs be established for the set up and system functionality initially. Beyond the first 3-year initial Asia regional set up, the business model ‘EW service provision’ will generate sustainability, and adequate profitability for operations expansion, maintenance, and development of potential AI integration. Meanwhile the Phase One and Phase Two initial 3years set up requires an entrepreneurial collaborative financial package, which is yet to be solved. The team presently are investigating, in the absence of the usual Financial Body models capability to participate, that maybe individual corporate sponsors will be necessary or indeed a collaborative approach between the Finance Agencies; adventurous individual Commercial Sponsors; wealthy Nation DRR sponsorship contributions; a degree of Philanthropy to fill gaps; and possibly PPPs [Private Public Partnerships], will all need be explored.
Presently the projects high priority amongst nations, is to raise awareness that such advanced earthquake early warnings exist and is already ‘component proven’ and capable of being implemented as a comprehensive earthquake early warning system, potentially saving a significant percentage of casualties from death and injury and $billions in protectable assets and economic livelihood losses globally even during and regardless of simultaneous crisis. AEEWS genuinely generates an unmatched resilience opportunity towards earthquakes.