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Happy birthday, RISE -  we celebrated the project's first year! It has been more than 12 months since the RISE community met for the first time in Switzerland and received an insight into the numerous work packages. In the meantime, we had to reorganize many meetings and interacted virtually instead of face-to-face. Nevertheless, RISE is progressing very well across all work packages.

After one year, first results are becoming apparent such as the deployment of a prototype array or the development of static and time-invariant exposure models for many countries. In this newsletter, let's have a closer look at the project's latest progress focusing on "Structural Health Monitoring" and related opportunities for integrating sensing data into rapid loss assessment. In addition, we are looking into the future of forecasts and its origin in 1854.

We hope you enjoy reading it!
WP Progress
A closer look
Looking into the future of forecasts

Dr. Alexandra Freeman and Dr. Sarah Dryhust, University of Cambridge
In the United Kingdom’s House of Commons in 1854, a Member of Parliament stood up and made the suggestion that recent scientific advances might allow the weather in the city to be known ‘twenty-four hours in advance’. The House broke into uproar and laughter - the idea was considered utterly preposterous. But with thousands of lives being lost in the country every year as a result of storms, by 1861 storm warnings were being wired to ports using the new telegraph system. So popular were they, that these ‘weather forecasts’ quickly became a staple part of newspaper content across the country.
Now, 160 years later, operational earthquake forecasting is in a similar position. With a proliferation of sensors that would have been considered infeasible perhaps 50 years ago alongside growing computer modelling power and expertise, geoscientists increasingly have information about potential seismic activity that could be of use in emergency and public planning. But how best to communicate that?
Over a century of experience in communicating the risk of life-threatening storms has put meteorology in a strong position to help us tackle this problem, but they are not the only ones: those used to communicating flooding, epidemics of disease and even financial market fluctuations all have lessons we can learn from.
As well as talking to communications professionals in all these fields, we are also listening to people ‘on the ground’ in three key RISE countries: Italy, Switzerland and Iceland. By interviewing members of the public, emergency responders and long-term planners and testing our messages and visualisations on them we will hopefully soon be able to advise on how best to get useful ‘earthquake forecasts’ into the hands of those who can act on them.
Hopefully as well as learning from the successes of weather forecasting, we can be prepared by its failures. Tragically the father of the weather forecast, Robert Fitzroy, beset with scepticism from scientific colleagues about his methods, funding problems from government, and complaints from those who lost business as a result of false alarms in the warnings, killed himself before he saw them become the ubiquitous and lifesaving service that they are today. With the backing of RISE and alert to these potential barriers, we hope to overcome them.

Figure: One of the early weather forecasts from the UK’s Met Office – before they had worked on how to communicate such information in a clear and easily-understood way to different audiences.
Structural Health Monitoring: Opportunities for Integrating Sensing Data into Rapid Loss Assessment
Yves Reuland, ETH Zurich

The extreme loads imposed by earthquakes threaten the integrity of the built environment. As not all buildings react in the same way to earthquakes, a rapid understanding of the extent of damage to buildings and its consequences on providing safe shelter for the population is a crucial contribution to an earthquake-resilient Europe. Therefore, in a similar way to doctors who examine vital functions to diagnose the health of their patients, structural health monitoring allows engineers to diagnose the integrity of buildings.
In the absence of means for direct measurements of building damage, one objective of the RISE project consists in finding indirect indicators of damage. Data-driven structural health monitoring uses damage-sensitive indicators, which are derived from the building’s earthquake response providing a real-time performance indication. To this end, signal processing, statistical analysis and machine learning are used to derive performance indicators from the time-and-frequency domain representation of the response. The increasing availability of sensing hardware at low cost, combined with the ever-growing possibilities for local data processing offered by the Internet-of-Things capabilities, provide exciting opportunities towards smart structures, which support engineers and decision-makers in the immediate aftermath of earthquakes. Hence, the early response to earthquake events can be improved by comparison to the current practice of time-consuming and potentially subjective visual inspections.
Well-designed damage-sensitive indicators help to more precisely diagnose damage by providing higher-level information regarding the location and the severity of building damages. The RISE project, through the breadth of its network, offers a rare opportunity to combine building-specific values from structural health monitoring with regionally applicable building behaviour models. With the engineering knowledge of building taxonomies and damage accumulation, the automation provided by data-driven structural-health monitoring can enable rapid assessment of regional consequences to the built environment, induced by earthquake events, and further provide guidance for rapid recovery.
Figure: Damage-sensitive features (here transmissibility between base accelerations and rooftop accelerations) allow detecting nonlinear behaviour. Based on the distribution of the damage-sensitive feature and pre-established thresholds, the building can be tagged as safe or unsafe. Hysteretic behaviour, a direct indicator of nonlinearity, cannot be measured directly.
RISE terminology

The concept of "Earthquake Early Warning"

Earthquake Early Warning (EEW) aims to provide a warning that the shaking of an earthquake is expected before it actually arrives. The warning is issued immediately after the earthquake has occurred or while it is still ongoing. Therefore, EEW does not predict an earthquake.

EEW is possible because electromagnetic waves travel much faster than seismic waves. Therefore, alerts based on the signals captured by seismic sensors close to the epicentre arrive at distant sites before the damaging seismic waves.

EEW can save lives if the public reacts appropriately to the warning and it can protect infrastructure by triggering automated shutdown procedures. However, EEW usually can only provide some seconds warning time before the earthquake strikes. It is possible to rapidly forecast the time of arrival of seismic waves at a remote site, but the assessment of the magnitude and the strength of the earthquake is less certain. This results in the possibility that EEW issues false alerts and that it over- or underestimates the actual earthquake.

Discover here more about EEW and RISE's holistic concept of dynamic risk assessment!

All RISE publications at one glance

RISE has released 14 research articles, so far. For example, Irina Dallo dealt with the question "What defines the success of maps and additional information on a multi-hazard platform?" or Laure Fallou analysed the earthquake series in Mayotte Island with regards to citizen seismology. A Again another topic is covered by Ariana Astorga and Philippe Guéguen, who focus in their study on the analysis of long‐term recovery and recovery of buildings during aftershocks, in order to detect permanent damage. Those are just three of many other publications released within the framework of RISE. In addition, a handful of other papers are shortly before release!

Would you like to know more about RISE publications? RISE has an open access research repository. We are also continuously updating our website and providing you with the latest RISE news!
15 & 16 October 2020, digital
ICEG 2020: 14. International Conference on Earthquake Geology
More information
22 & 23 October 2020, digital
ICESE 2020: 14. International Conference on Earthquake Analysis and Structural Engineering
More information
The next external newsletter will be released in 2021. If you have anything you would like to share, please send your input to the communications team ( or

Liability claim
The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained in this document. Also, responsibility for the information and views expressed in this document lies entirely with the author(s).
Copyright © 2020 RISE, All rights reserved.

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