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Physics to Resilience: Next Generation Earthquake and Tsunami Response.

B.Fry, A. Nicol, A.Kaiser, Y.W.M. Liao, W.Power, N. Horspool , S.J.McCurrach, K. Gledhill, A.Howell, J. Borerro, C. Massey, B.Shaw, L. Hughes, M. Gerstenberger, M. Stirling, D. Burbidge, D.Dempsey, C. Holden, E. Lane, C. Penney, C.Moore, J. Andrews, F. Aden, C. Zweck, R. Smith (2022) Physics to Resilience: Next Generation Earthquake and Tsunami Response. Geoscience Society of New Zealand Annual Conference 2022: Programme & Abstracts Volume. Geoscience Society of New Zealand Miscellaneous Publication 161A. Geoscience Society of New Zealand, Wellington, pp. 88. ISBN (online): 978-0-473-66216-5 ISSN (online): 2230-4495. https://gsnz.org.nz/assets/Uploads/Shop/Products/GSNZ_annual_conference/MP161_2022_Palmerston_North/MP161A_2022_GSNZ_conference_Palmerston_North_Abstract_Volume.pdf


Public funding of science is increasingly leveraged to provide direct benefit to society. This evolution of government priorities encourages the mutually beneficial alignment of research programmes to deliver improved outcomes, many of which would not have been possible through isolated research. In this talk, we present one such case by giving an update on the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges (RNC) national science challenge Earthquake and Tsunami Programme, which has implemented NZ’s first national-scale earthquake simulator.

Our current working national earthquake models represent hundreds of thousands of years of possible earthquakes in New Zealand. Earthquakes in this synthetic seismicity model exhibit remarkable complexity, beyond that usually considered in scenario-based event response planning.

Ongoing efforts are aimed at evaluating the usefulness of these earthquake models for application to some of NZ’s biggest earthquake challenges. The scope of our current applications includes 1) next generation seismic and tsunami hazard modelling and 2) providing input scenarios to improve large local and regional earthquake and tsunami response tools. We will show how the RNC synthetic seismicity catalogue is being used to test response tools and early warning procedures. As an example, we will show testing and application of regional tsunami early warning algorithms under the Rapid Characterisation of Earthquakes and Tsunamis (R-CET) MBIE Endeavour programme.

The 5 March, 2021 earthquakes and tsunamis were a (painfully early!) bellwether of our tsunami forecasting efforts in R-CET. While not yet fully operational, we successfully used direct tsunami observations recorded on the NZ DART network to help underpin advice that led to an improved national tsunami response. Tangible response gains were realized in improved estimation of likely tsunami threat duration leading to more rapid and informed de-escalation and cancellation of a national warning than would have likely occurred without the NZ DART network data and the complementarity of R-CET and RNC workstreams.

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