Disaster Prediction

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Challenge Statement

Design a potential XPRIZE to save lives and reduce economic loss through better mechanisms to predict earthquakes and tropical cyclones.

Select Grand Challenge Focus Areas

An amazing competition design will focus on the smallest set of breakthrough innovations that can unlock the largest possible positive impact.

After considering many different possibilities and consulting both internal and external experts in the field, the team has prioritized two “Grand Challenge Focus Areas” to be solved in this space: Improved Prediction and Reliable Communication. “Grand Challenge Focus Areas” are areas in which a breakthrough could lead to massive transformational change in creating a world where all people can be safe from the worst ravages of natural disasters. XPRIZE is seeking amazing prize designs in each of these areas. An amazing XPRIZE design will be simple but audacious, challenging teams to develop breakthrough innovations that may address these prize focus areas for either earthquakes or tropical cyclones, or both. 

Improved Prediction

A clear key to mitigating the damage and loss of life caused by earthquakes and tropical cyclones is in the prediction itself.  Thus, prize designs that incentivize the creation of better prediction technologies are important, but what is meant by “better prediction” is tantalizingly broad.  It could be a prize competition aimed at solutions with greater and consistent global accuracy. Or it could be a prize aimed at longer lead times, including the identification and prediction of trigger mechanisms or precursors to genesis, which would allow enough time for sufficient preparation and appropriate evacuations. A competition design could, for example, incentivize the creation of new technologies that identify precursors or drastically reduce the cost and increase global access to reliable prediction mechanisms.  

Reliable Communication

In this context, by reliable communication we mean solutions that improve the timeliness and consistency in the communication of a natural disaster once an accurate prediction has been made. Often, information given out prior to a natural disaster can be confusing, misleading, or ignored. In particular, we believe communication that is quick, reliably consistent, and accessible to everyone regardless of means of technological savvy is key to avoiding loss of life and money. We emphasize “technological savvy” because in many parts of the world, communication infrastructure and mechanisms are limited and currently rely on word-of-mouth. A competition design that incentivizes breakthrough solutions that result in new forms of communication or new approaches that allow the global standardization of accurate and rapid communication are just the tip of the iceberg here. 

Root Causes


What the underlying reasons why better predictions and communications haven’t been achieved for earthquakes and tropical cyclones?  What are the natural, technological, social, environmental, political, and economic reasons why these natural disasters still can’t be better predicted and why information about those predictions can’t be better communicated?


The Guatemala’s Fuego Volcano monitoring system is viewed as rudimentary compared to those on other volcanoes. This could contribute to a disaster scenario. How can more advanced systems be deployed consistently in areas with a high risk?

Barriers to Progress


A barrier to progress is a systemic reason why a problem can’t be solved under the current paradigm.  This is about something larger than any one particular technology or approach succeeding or failing. What are the larger systems or forces that will prevent any approach from succeeding or which are dis-incentivizing solutions from even being created?


More funding for increased monitoring and additional sensors and satellites deployed around the world will make predicting volcanic eruptions easier, and  to grow volcano monitoring systems and keep satellites used by scientists to monitor volcanoes aloft.

Volcanic hazards assessment tools are essential for risk mitigation of volcanic activities. A number of offline volcanic hazard assessment tools have been provided, but in most cases, they require relatively complex installation procedure and usage. This situation causes limited usage of volcanic hazard assessment tools among volcanologists and volcanic hazards communities. In addition, volcanic eruption chronology and detailed database of each volcano in the world are essential key information for volcanic hazard assessment, but most of them are isolated and not connected to and with each other.

The question of when to issue a warning is a complex one in volcanic hazard assessment, and the data in this paper suggest that there are a number of factors that might affect this decision, including the level of uncertainty. These findings obviously do not provide an answer to the question that has pervaded volcanology since Guadeloupe in 1976 – when to issue warnings in cases of high uncertainty.

Existing Efforts to Address the Problem


The goal of this section is to understand what other efforts are already underway to address the problem of doing a better job of predicting earthquakes and tropical cyclones.  Please be sure to focus on the who, what, when, and why. 

Who is developing solutions to a similar problem (which innovators, academics, corporations)? What solutions are they developing? When were these solutions tried or when might they be ready by? Why did the people pursuing them take this particular tack? The hope is that by understanding existing efforts, we can see where there are gaps, or holes, in current efforts that might be targeted with a prize.  


Improved Prediction
Companies active in Earthquake prediction
  • An interesting example of this is GeoCosmo who use semiconductor physics for earthquake prediction, in an opensource platform/program
  • QuakeFinder’s mission is to save lives by finding a way to forecast major earthquakes. QuakeFinder operates as a humanitarian research project of aerospace engineering firm Stellar Solutions. The project’s goal is to develop technology and methods for detection and analysis of electromagnetic earthquake precursors to produce earthquake forecasts based on sound scientific theory and practice.
  • Terra Seismic "is an international team of scientists with over 30 years of experience in developing effective technologies & methods in seismic forecasting." It's hard to find any independent review of their rather bold claims : "Our technology has been successfully tested for 1970-2018 period and our systems detected ~90% of important earthquakes over last 48 years. So, earthquake forecasting problem has been mainly solved."

An interesting article on new Sensors that "Sniff Out Volcanic Eruptions Before They Happen". These sensors continuously measure gas and water vapor from volcanoes.

Technology has made it easier than ever to monitor volcanos safely and penetrate cloud covered volcano peaks. This enables more effective monitoring and the ability to signal an imminent eruption.

Method of prediction using satellite images and measuring change in state between images.

Method of prediction using satellite radar and GPS with algorithms to determine change in magma chamber pressure.

Development of sensors that can work in high temperature environments up to 600 degrees Celsius, or more than 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit. The material currently used, plain silicon, melts at less than one third that temperature.

Drones are being considered as an essential part of the process of translating organic signals like those that a volcano emits before an eruption into computer code. Having drones and sensors delivering data about the earth could also lead to a better understanding of natural processes that have been hard to see before now.

Seven scientific instruments aboard five NASA and partner satellites have provided a wealth of important data — the composition and size of newly emitted volcanic plumes, for example, and how, exactly, the movement of molten rock underground is deforming the ground.

Taking a cue from weather forecasters, researchers combine satellite measurements and models in attempt to predict volcanic activity.

Sophisticated gas monitoring devices and satellite GPS data are starting to give scientists a fighting chance of forecasting devastating blasts.

For volcanoes in remote locations, research on the volcanic plume detection method is capable of identifying smaller eruptions than is currently feasible, which could potentially be incorporated into automated volcanic alert systems.

Instruments Used to Monitor Volcanoes; despite the use of cutting-edge technology and ongoing research, the ability to predict exactly when a volcano will erupt is still not perfect.

Radiometers can measure water vapor density and temperature inside eruption clouds, improving on existing measurements with infrared cameras that are limited to measuring the outer cloud surface. This can yield new insights into eruption processes and improve forecasts of drifting volcanic ash for aviation safety.

Drones Help Predict The Next Volcanic Eruption and the use of a sensor for airlines to fit on planes as a volcanic ash avoidance system.

Using analysis of crystals to better understand eruptions. The crystal record could provide new insights on the hazard potential of future earthquake signals and the time available for emergency planning.

Volcanic Crisis Management and Mitigation Strategies: A Multi-Risk Framework Case Study. Research activities about the effects of a volcanic eruption on existing buildings and infrastructures have produced in the last 15 years a comprehensive framework of studies, surveys and simulations, showing the several uncertainties related to the exact prediction of the eruption type which should be expected and the many implications that different eruptive phenomena can have on emergency-plan strategies and on built-environment planning and refurbishment.

Abstract on the Probabilistic Methodology for Long-Term Assessment of Volcanic Hazards: In order to account for the intrinsic uncertainty of volcanism that occurs in space and time and with respect to event types and their intensity, the use of probabilistic models becomes quite natural for long-term hazard assessment. Here, we discuss a range of probabilistic approaches to forecast the future spatial distribution of volcanism, including kernel, adaptive kernel, and Cox process methods. An application to the volcanic arc of Tohoku illustrates the proposed methodology.

New Frontiers and Technologies in Submarine Volcanism Research: Advances in submarine volcanism rely on the concerted efforts of scientists from many disciplines, some of whom observe eruptions in progress and others who search for evidence of past eruptions and create models of volcanic processes

Understanding Volcanoes in Isolated Locations: To minimize the impact of future eruptions, we must give attention to understanding volcanoes. With this in mind, the scientific study and monitoring of volcanic and other natural hazards provides a compelling opportunity for constructive science engagement through the shared goals of protecting life and property for global benefit.

Scientists Improve Forecast of Increasing Hazard on Ecuadorian Volcano: Researchers use a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar to show an increase in volcanic danger on Ecuador's Cotopaxi.

A synthesis of challenges and opportunities for reducing volcanic risk through land use planning in New Zealand: Currently land use planning is an underutilised approach for mitigating volcanic risk. The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the hazards posed by New Zealand’s volcanic landscape, and to highlight the important role that land use planning can play in reducing volcanic risk.

Remote sensing of volcanoes and volcanic processes: integrating observation and modelling. Volcanoes are often remote, and have footprints that may extend across many hundreds or thousands of square kilometres. Satellite, airborne and ground-based remote sensing are increasingly vital tools for monitoring active or potentially active volcanoes, and assessing their likely, real-time or time-averaged impact.

Volcanic Hazards as Components of Complex Systems: The Case of Japan. The existence of nuclear power plants exacerbates the risks for Japan and the region. Indeed, more so than seismic hazards, volcanic hazards have the potential, in the most extreme cases, to disrupt the ecosystem of the entire earth.

New technology to improve early detection of explosive volcanic ash cloud eruptions: Vaisala’s Global Lightning Dataset GLD360, now includes new technology that can provide early warnings of explosive ash clouds that cause disruptions to aviation routes and safety.

Effective natural hazard risk assessment requires the characterisation of both hazards and vulnerabilities of exposed elements. Volcanic hazard assessment is at an advanced state and is a considerable focus of volcanic scientific inquiry, whereas comprehensive vulnerability assessment is lacking. Cataloguing and analysing volcanic impacts provide insight on likely societal and physical vulnerabilities during future eruptions.

Sensitivity test and ensemble hazard assessment for tephra fallout at Campi Flegrei, Italy. Results of a statistical study on tephra dispersal in the case of a reactivation of the Campi Flegrei volcano.

Remote Sensing of Volcanic Hazards and their Precursors: Remote sensing contributes to the mitigation of these hazards through the use of synthetic aperture radar interferometry (InSAR) and spectroradiometry. In the case of InSAR, displacements of a volcano’s surface can be interpreted in terms of magma movement beneath the ground.

Lava flow hazards at Mount Etna: constraints imposed by eruptive history and numerical simulations. Here, we present a methodology for the quantitative assessment of lava flow hazards based on a combination of field data, numerical simulations and probability analyses.

Overview on the volcanic eruptions going on in Hawaii right now. Hawaii’s volcanoes are classified as “shield” volcanoes due to their gently sloping profile built up over time by a steady flow of lava. Unlike composite, conical-shaped volcanoes—Mt. St. Helens in the Pacific Northwest—shield volcanoes are characterized as effusive versus explosive. That means they do not generally erupt like an uncapped fire hydrant, throwing lava and rocks thousands of feet in the air and billowing unending clouds of ash the way the 2010 eruption in Iceland closed airspace across Europe.

Satellites will soon predict Earthquakes and Volcanic eruptions from space: Satellites can now see dips and bulges in the Earth’s surface that show pathways of underground magma streams and the position of hidden fault lines. Data from these satellite observations can save lives, ushering in an "era of global volcanology".

Using an Infrasonic Array in Singapore to Monitor Volcanoes: Infrasounds are atmospheric sounds below the 20 Hz threshold of human hearing. Infrasounds can travel thousands of kilometres and can be detected using sensitive microbarometers. Several natural sources generate infrasounds, including the hundreds of volcanoes surrounding Singapore.

Hazard interaction analysis for multi-hazard risk assessment: a systematic classification based on hazard-forming environment. Developing a systematic hazard interaction classification based on the geophysical environment that natural hazards arise from – the hazard-forming environment.

Quantifying Risk Before Disasters Occur: Hazard Information for Probabilistic Risk Assessment. Risk is a forward looking concept that implies an eventuality of something that can occur. Therefore, assessing risk means looking at the possible events that can occur, quantifying how likely they are to happen and appraising the potential consequences should they occur.

The KULTU Risk Regional Risk Assessment methodology for water-related natural hazards – Part 1: Physical–environmental assessment. This paper is intended to introduce and present a state-of-the-art Regional Risk Assessment (RRA) methodology to appraise the risk posed by floods from a physical–environmental perspective. The methodology, developed within the recently completed FP7- KULTURisk Project (Knowledge-based approach to develop a cULTUre of Risk prevention – KR) is flexible and can be adapted to different case studies (i.e. plain rivers, mountai torrents, urban and coastal areas) and spatial scales (i.e. from catchment to the urban scale).

Spatio-temporal population modelling as improved exposure information for risk assessments tested in the Autonomous Province of Bolzano. In this study, a flexible model to create dynamic gridded population data with a spatial resolution of 100 m is implemented for the mountainous, hazard-prone and highly touristic region of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano, based on the integration of multiple data sources within an explicit spatio-temporal modelling framework.

Integration of Probabilistic and Multi-Hazard Risk Assessment Within Urban Development Planning and Emergency Preparedness and Response: Application to Manizales, Colombia. The details of a multi-hazard and probabilistic risk assessment, developed for urban planning and emergency response activities in Manizales, Colombia, are presented in this article.

Deterministic Earthquake Tsunami Hazard Analysis In China. In this paper, considering the effects of the slope of coastal seabed and the shape of coastline, based on the technology of mathematic simulation, a deterministic method of earthquake tsunami hazard analysis is proposed. Finally the extent of earthquake tsunami hazard in China coastal areas is evaluated

Probabilistic Earthquake-tsunami Hazard Assessment: The First Step Towards Resilient Coastal Communities. To meet this need, this study presents a new probabilistic procedure for estimating the likelihood that seismic intensity and tsunami inundation will exceed given respective hazard levels.

Modelling future earthquake and tsunami risk in southwestern Japan. Geoscience researchers unveil new, GPS-based methods for modelling earthquake-induced tsunamis for southwestern Japan along the Nankai Trough. A Nankai-induced tsunami is likely to hit there in the next few decades, and has the potential to displace four times the number of people affected by the massive Tohoku tsunami of 2011, according to new research.

Will Indonesia Be Ready for the Next Tsunami? Ten years after catastrophic waves lashed Sumatra, Indonesia has rebuilt. But the risk of another devastating tsunami is high.

From Tsunami Risk Assessment to Disaster Risk Reduction. The case of Oman. The aim of this work is to minimize the consequences that tsunami events may cause in coastal communities by integrating tsunami risk assessment and risk reduction measures as part of the risk-management preparedness strategy. An integrated risk assessment approach and the analysis of site-specific conditions permitted to propose target-oriented risk reduction measures.

Earthquake Risk Reduction in Buildings and Infrastructure Program. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) program is (1) developing measurement science tools to mitigate risk from strong earthquake ground motions to new and existing buildings, lifelines and infrasture and (2) engage the nation through development of improved building codes and new design approaches, engagement in public policy and leadership of the multi-agency NEHRP program.

Earthquakes: innovative technologies for improving prevention and safety. Optical fibers, interferometers, accelerometers are just a few of the advanced anti-seismic technologies to reduce the risk from earthquakes in Italy. At ENEA a conference to take stock of the situation.

Earthquakes often occur with little to no warning and have the potential to cause enormous amounts of destruction and death. Countries with means have developed complex emergency management systems to address this constant threat. The United States and Japan were chosen for comparison because they share a similar amount of risk and have experienced large earthquakes in the last 20 years. These two countries approach this problem in drastically different ways; the United States uses a bottom-up approach, giving a large amount of freedom to local governments to address this risk. The Japanese system spreads responsibility through a directive approach, with the central government taking care of mitigation and parts of recovery, leaving the rest to be sorted out by the prefectures and local governments. This paper focuses specifically on the ways in which these two countries approach preparedness and recovery. The paper concludes with a short analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of each system, offering suggestions to strengthen future approaches.

Both the United States and Japan have experienced numerous large earthquakes. Combined, Japan and the United States account for almost a fifth of the world’s most powerful recorded earthquakes [U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 2003]. While seismologists have rapidly advanced their science in recent years, it is still impossible to give precise warnings. What this science has been able to do is to provide fairly accurate time windows for earthquake occurrences on the order of decades (Haddow et al. 2011). Unfortunately, time windows on this scale limit what anyone can do to be prepared for an earthquake; conventional techniques used for other well-known disasters (e.g., evacuation before hurricane impact) are not practical with this level of prediction. For this reason, both the United States and Japan have developed complex emergency management systems to address earthquake risk (Hayashi 2004). Since the two countries experience similar risks, it is worthwhile to understand why these two systems approach problems as they do and to understand the merit of each system. This paper compares the current state of preparedness for and response to earthquakes in the two countries by comparing government structures, relevant policy, and preparedness for and response to past and future earthquakes and by examining the strengths and weaknesses of each system through a discussion of resilience, concluding with recommendations for the future.

Earthquake damage estimation systems: These frameworks target on increasing recovery after such disaster, by introducing new designs, technologies, and components to the building. To calculate the value of such improvements, use of loss estimation systems are essential. This paper compares and contrasts two most widely adopted loss assessment tools available, namely PACT and SLAT.

Digital engagement methods for earthquake and fire preparedness: a review. The study proves that most of the digital resources focus on a single hazard and fail to provide context-sensitive information that targets specific groups of users. Furthermore, behaviour change techniques are rarely implemented in the design of these applications and their efficacy is rarely systematically evaluated. Recommendations for improving the design of Web- and mobile-based technologies are made so as to increase their effectiveness and uptake for a multi-hazard approach to earthquake and home fire preparedness.

Software maps earthquake risks in Greater Victoria. A Victoria geographer is launching an online tool today that allows home and business owners to generate earthquake hazard reports for their property based on public data.

Device for seismic isolation of buildings designed. Research on the application of seismic isolation methods will lead to better protection of buildings, infrastructure, and sensitive equipment subjected to dynamic loads caused by seismic activity. The overall aim of the research program is to mitigate the damage caused by earthquakes.

Earthquake warning technology: detecting future quakes before they hit. Rolling global news, such as the tremendous earthquake in Mexico and back-to-back hurricanes around the Caribbean can leave the impression that the frequency and ferocity of geophysical hazards has increased in recent years as natural disasters have brought devastation around the world.

Social assessment as a complementary tool to hazard risk assessment and disaster planning. This paper presents the case for the integration of social assessments into emergency and disaster risk management planning. Post disaster studies, social assessments and social impact assessments are all closely related activities. However, post disaster studies are obviously after the event whereas social assessments and social impact assessments ideally should be undertaken before an event occurs.

Researcher calls for more natural baseline data collection in world's oceans. One of the biggest challenges in evaluating the environmental impacts of the Macondo blowout was the lack of baseline data, an expert say. She argues in a new article that environmental monitoring data is desperately needed to establish natural baselines.

Earthquakes are notoriously hard to predict. They strike unexpectedly and spark wildfires and tsunamis that add to the damage. Scientists have tried, but no one has yet found a way to reliably predict them. Some researchers, though, think AI might be the key to finally doing it and saving lives in the process. A “creaking and grinding noise” in the acoustical data has proven to be a useful predictor that allows them to pinpoint when an event will occur. While these findings might be difficult to translate into the real world, some scientists are optimistic that AI could finally provide us with the ability to forecast earthquakes.

Machine learning plays a role in the weather predictions we get every day, and that same technology can be used to forecast when a hurricane will hit. AI has also proven 30 percent more effective than traditional models at predicting the intensity of hurricanes.

This improved accuracy helps people better prepare for the event. A 30 percent improvement is hugely consequential, especially given that just three hurricanes, Maria, Harvey and Irma, impacted at least 26.5 million people in the U.S. in 2017.

AI is also showing promise as a way to improve disaster relief. A company called One Concernhas created a predictive AI program called Seismic Concern and is also working on similar programs for wildfires, floods and hurricanes.

Seismic Concern takes data about seismic activity, the structural integrity of nearby buildings and the demographics of the affected people and analyzes it to help relief workers determine what areas need what kind of assistance.

The company has products that facilitate disaster simulations and help leaders make decisions during and after a real event, enabling users to both prepare for and react to an event. While social media might not always be accessible after a natural disaster, when it is, combining it with advanced data analytics could help improve disaster relief. After a disaster, the best information comes from the ground from relief workers and the victims themselves. AI programs can gather all the social media content related to an event into one place, analyze it and provide leaders with a better idea of the scene in the disaster area.

When combined with imagery from drones and satellites, this dataset becomes even more useful. Governments and relief groups can then use this information to identify which areas are the most badly damaged and where the people that need relief are.

Victims could also use this information to gain a better understanding of their situation and get advice on what to do.​ Users could then conduct a search with an AI voice assistant like Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. They could pose questions about the impacts of the natural disaster, the progress of relief efforts and what actions they should take.

Coral reefs are widely regarded as one of the most beautiful, diverse and delicate ecosystems on the planet. A new study by an international team of scientists reveals that reefs also play the tough guy role in protecting hundreds of millions of people from rising sea levels and damaging wave action.

The researchers performed a meta-analysis of 27 previous studies of how coral reefs around the world dissipate wave energy, conducted in conditions ranging from normal surf to hurricane-level waves. They found that coral reefs reduce wave energy by an average of 97 percent, dissipating disproportionately more wave energy as wave energy increased. The coral reef structure buffers shorelines against waves, storms, and floods, helping to prevent loss of life, property damage, and erosion. When reefs are damaged or destroyed, the absence of this natural barrier can increase the damage to coastal communities from normal wave action and violent storms. Human activities that directly damage coral, in combination with increasing ocean temperatures and acidification, have already degraded or are posing serious threats to at least two-thirds of the world's coral reefs. The new analysis, published in Nature Communications, raises the stakes for conservation efforts, the researchers said, and could help focus those efforts toward reefs in high-risk areas.

Intellectual Property (patents)

Patents, whilst not formal proof of the working of any particular technology, can be a helpful indication of activity in the domain of disaster prediction. The following relate specifically to earthquakes.

  • (Chinese, 2017) CN107144883A "Earthquake forecasting and monitoring AC electromagnetic field observing station network" The invention discloses an earthquake forecasting and monitoring AC electromagnetic field observing station network which comprises an ionosphere, a high-power artificial source electromagnetic field signal transmitting source, a waveguide layer and a station network. 
  • (Ouzounov, 2014) WO2015116873A3"Earthquake forecaster" Embodiments of the present invention relate to multi parameter monitoring of atmospheric and ionospheric physical precursors from remote sensing (e.g. earth observation satellites) and ground observations for automatic detection of pre-earthquake anomalies used for short-term forecasting of strong earthquakes. Embodiments may warn of potential earthquakes days in advance of occurring.
  • (Shou, 2011) US8068985B1 "Method of precise earthquake prediction and prevention of mysterious air and sea accidents" The disclosed earthquake vapor theory, statistically significant in practice, overcomes two difficulties: the dependency on cold weather to pinpoint an earthquake epicenter and the time window not being short enough for evacuation. Finding a vapor nozzle based on boiling temperature can solve the former. Isolating the nozzle to find the next peak of daily maximum after vapor eruption can solve the latter by narrowing the time window to 1-2 days.
  • (Kunitsyn, 2005) US7277797B1 "Prediction system and method" Method and apparatus to predict the onset of earthquakes, one to three days prior to the event. Predictions of latitude, longitude, and time of occurrence of an incipient earthquake, by monitoring and exploiting unique changes in the ionosphere and atmosphere, may be obtained. The methodology, focused on radio-tomography of the ionosphere, includes data receiving, transmission, and analysis stations on the earth's surface; data from satellite transmitters; and mechanisms to extract earthquake-related signatures that are correlated, processed, interpreted, and disseminated as warnings from central analysis centers.
  • (Bleier, 2001) US6873265B2 "Satellite and ground system for detection and forecasting of earthquakes" The present invention describes the use of a space-based Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) magnetic field detector in conjunction with ground-based network of ELF magnetic field detectors. In particular, a space based ELF detection system can be used to perform a wide area search and find precursor earthquake signals in both known and unknown earthquake zones, and a ground-based network of ELF detectors can be used to verify that the signals are indeed earthquake generated signals. The use of this invention will minimize cost and manpower necessary to effectuate an accurate and reliable earthquake detection system.
  • (Fujinawa, 1997) US5694129A"Method of imminent earthquake prediction by observation of electromagnetic field and system for carrying out the same" The present invention relates to a method of imminent earthquake prediction by observation of electromagnetic field, whereby the three fundamental elements of earthquake prediction, that is, occurrence time, location and magnitude of an earthquake, can be predicted from several days to several hours before the earthquake on the basis of seismic electromagnetic field signals which are observed before the occurrence of the earthquake. The present invention also relates to a system for carrying out the imminent earthquake prediction method.
  • (Merzer, 1993) US5521508A "Method and apparatus for predicting the occurrence of an earthquake by identifying electromagnetic precursors" The present invention relates to a method and apparatus for predicting the occurrence of an earthquake, and particularly for locating and identifying electromagnetic precursors to earthquakes.
Reliable Communication

Using video games for volcanic hazard education and communication. This paper aims to understand whether video games (or serious games) can be effective in enhancing volcanic hazard education and communication.

The Natural Hazards Partnership: A public-sector collaboration across the UK for natural hazard disaster risk reduction. This paper presents the NHP as a successful example of a national collaboration of public bodies with a common goal. The partnership's organization and scientific approach is discussed alongside a review of activities and deliverables developed to help realize the NHP's vision: ‘To be the UK's trusted voice for natural hazards advice’.

Chile earthquake: how high-tech warning systems save lives. The 8.3-magnitude earthquake that struck off Illapel, Chile, on Thursday morning (Australian time) has once again highlighted the importance of tsunami warning systems in the world’s oceans. The earthquake occurred along the interface of the Nazca and South American Plates in Central Chile.

Development of tsunami early warning systems and future challenges. In the context of the development of the German Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System (GITEWS) and in the EU-funded FP6 project Distant Early Warning System (DEWS), a service platform for both sensor integration and warning dissemination has been newly developed and demonstrated.

Evolution of tsunami warning systems and products. In this paper, we explore the evolution of science and technology used in tsunami warning systems, the evolution of their products using warning technologies, and offer suggestions for a new generation of warning products, aimed at the flooding nature of the hazard, to reduce future tsunami impacts on society.

A New Tsunami-Warning System. Scientists devise way to relay sound signals under water. After successfully testing a long-range underwater communications system that worked under Arctic Ocean ice, an engineering team at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) adapted it for a very different environment—the tropics—and for a different purpose—to provide warnings of impending tsunamis.

GPS data could improve tsunami early warnings. A German team says GPS satellite-based positioning could offer detailed information about the events within minutes of an earthquake occurring. They believe the technology could have improved alerts issued when the devastating tsunami hit Japan in 2011.

Seismicity is effectively monitored in many regions with regional networks, and world seismicity is monitored by the Global Seismic Network that consists of more than 150 high-quality, broadband seismic stations using satellite telemetry systems. Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) systems monitor crustal strain in tectonically active and intraplate regions. A relatively recent technology, Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) uses radar waves emitted from satellites to map the Earth’s surface at high (sub-cm) resolution. InSAR technology opens the door to continuous monitoring of crustal deformation within active plate boundaries. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), along with other partners, has created ShakeMap, an online notification system that provides near-real-time post-earthquake maps of ground shaking intensity. These maps are especially useful for the coordination of emergency response teams and for the improvement of building codes.

A massive quake off Alaska’s coast triggered a tsunami warning. Here are eight things to know about these seismic events. A magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck 170 miles southeast off the coast of Kodiak, Alaska, around 4:30 am Tuesday, triggering tsunami warnings and advisories all the way down the West Coast to the US–Mexico border. The US Tsunami Warning System, run by the National Weather Service, later cancelled the warnings, but Alaska residents were startled, and rightfully so. Many fled the coasts and sheltered at evacuation centers inland. So while California has long been steeling itself for big earthquakes with building codes and disaster planning, the Pacific Northwest may be caught off guard, though the author of the New Yorker piece, Kathryn Schulz, helpfully provided a guide to prepare.

Japan is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in the world. We all know that the quake in March 2011 devastated the coast of the Tohoku area. But the nation’s savvy disaster preparedness likely saved thousands of lives. The US and other countries are also prone to earthquakes, but are not nearly as prepared or conscientious. And the Big One could be just right around the corner. Let’s take a look at what Japan does right, and how the rest of us can improve. Beyond that, there needs to be a sense of urgency from lawmakers in the US. We need to fundamentally change the way we think about disasters, because if we don’t start getting ready for it now, it’ll already be too late. And that means working with nations like Japan that lead by example.


Other Prizes in the Area

What prizes have already been launched in this space? Please clearly state who is who is sponsoring the prize, what it’s goals and timeline are, and the size of the prize purse.

Please insert supporting text here. 

Foundations and Organizations Already Active in this Space

What are the major players that are already active in these spaces?

My team (Catalyst Agri-Innovations Society) were finalists in the 2016 Singularity University Global Grand Challenge Awards. The winner of the award for Disaster response was GeoCosmo. The four finalists are touched on here, and I think an excellent guide for designers in this category.

I have listed a few organisations that fund research in this area. I would not class these as potential funders but they are useful to note as organisations active in driving innovation and research and development projects:

University of Oregon: Natural disasters cause thousands of deaths annually, and in 2013 alone caused over $130 billion in damage worldwide. There is clear societal need to better understand and mitigate the risks posed to the US by natural hazards, consistent with the mandate of the National Science Foundation (NSF) “…to promote the progress of science [and] advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare....” NSF and the Directorate for Geosciences (GEO) have long supported basic research in scientific and engineering disciplines necessary to understand natural hazards and extreme events, including through the Interdisciplinary Research in Hazards and Disasters (Hazards SEES) program and multiple core programs in the GEO Directorate. PREEVENTS is designed as a logical successor to Hazards SEES and is one element of the NSF-wide Risk and Resilience activity, which has the overarching goal of improving predictability and risk assessment, and increasing resilience, in order to reduce the impact of extreme events on our life, society, and economy. PREEVENTS will provide an additional mechanism to support research and related activities that will improve our understanding of the fundamental processes underlying natural hazards and extreme events in the geosciences. PREEVENTS is focused on natural hazards and extreme events, and not on technological or deliberately human-caused hazards. The PREEVENTS portfolio will include the potential for disciplinary and multidisciplinary research at all scales, particularly aimed at areas ripe for significant near- or medium-term advances. PREEVENTS seeks projects that will (1) enhance understanding of the fundamental processes underlying natural hazards and extreme events on various spatial and temporal scales, as well as the variability inherent in such hazards and events, and (2) improve our capability to model and forecast such hazards and events. All projects requesting PREEVENTS support must be primarily focused on these two targets. In addition, PREEVENTS projects will improve our understanding of the effects of natural hazards and extreme events and will enable development, with support by other programs and organizations, of new tools to enhance societal preparedness and resilience against such impacts.

PennState Institute for CyberScience: This opportunity is seeking proposals pertaining to quick-response research on natural or anthropogenic extreme events and unanticipated or unpredictable events. Examples include major fires, volcanic eruptions, coral bleaching events and more. The research must require rapid, near-term data acquisition, field work, or other such research activities. The program also supports novel research in Earth remote sensing.

Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC: New research opportunities are available with the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC. Expressions of interest (EOI) are currently being sought for three new bushfire risk management projects that will be undertaken for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning Victoria (DELWP).

Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute: The Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute is providing grant funding to support research on ways Houston-area officials can coordinate their efforts in the wake of a natural disaster. Researchers hope that by closely tracking the way organizations involved in the Hurricane Harvey recovery interacted with each other, they may be able to improve future collaboration if disaster strikes. Researchers will perform a type of study called a “social network analysis” to determine how the various entities involved in the recovery interact, including organizations involved in law enforcement, public health, flood management, emergency management, housing and disaster relief. They hope their work will help identify ways to improve the flow of information across the region, reduce duplication of efforts and support vulnerable populations.

Natural Environment Research Council: ERC funds excellent, world-leading research across the environmental sciences. Our innovation funding brings researchers together with research users, to harness the best people, skills and information to address business and societal needs. We invest in the large research infrastructure, equipment and skills that keep the UK at the cutting edge of environmental science, support long-term science, and enable emergency response. NERC funds postgraduate training that sustains the flow of top talent and skills for UK science business and government. This section contains information about the various funding mechanisms by which we do all this, as well as guidance on how to apply for them.

National Geographic: All proposed projects should be bold, innovative, and potentially transformative and have a primary focus in conservation, education, research, storytelling, or technology. Projects should also align to one of our three focus areas. We do not usually consider applications that support strictly laboratory or collections work. Grants are awarded on the basis of merit and exist independent of the Society's other divisions. Please note that this is a highly competitive grant program; we receive many more applications than we are able to fund.

Potential Funders

What are the groups or individuals that are already funding, or might be willing to fund efforts in this space?

Airlines support development of innovative technology to prevent closure of airspace due to hazards such as volcanic ash that occurred in 2010.

This fund is more related to R&D but shows the interest from the Insurance Sector to support development in this area. AXA Research Fund: The mission of the AXA Research Fund is to support academic institutions hosting outstanding researchers committed to improving people’s life by carrying out cutting-edge and innovative research dealing with global societal challenges related to Life & Health, Data & Technology, Climate & Environment and Economics & Insurance.

Tokyo, Sendai, and Kawasaki, Japan, November 24, 2017 The Earthquake Research Institute at the University of Tokyo, the International Research Institute of Disaster Science (IRIDeS) at Tohoku University, the City of Kawasaki, and Fujitsu Limited have today signed a memorandum determining that they will collaborate on a project that advances the utilization of disaster prevention technologies and ICT, including artificial intelligence (AI) and supercomputers. The organizations will investigate technologies to predict tsunamis and take preemptive measures aimed at mitigating tsunami disaster risk in the Kawasaki coastal zone. fter conducting this technology study, the four organizations plan to consider issues including the uncertainty of predictions and consistency with tsunami early warning information from other organizations, with an eye towards the practical application of these technologies. Furthermore, they will contribute to the creation of effective regional disaster mitigation measures for possible future earthquakes and tsunamis by applying the results of this technology study of the Kawasaki coastal zone to other regions in the future, such as the Nankai Trough coastal region.

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