Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2021-237
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2021-237

  03 Sep 2021

03 Sep 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Effective uncertainty visualization for aftershock forecast maps

Max Schneider1,2, Michelle McDowell3,4, Peter Guttorp1,5, E. Ashley Steel6, and Nadine Fleischhut7,8 Max Schneider et al.
  • 1Department of Statistics, University of Washington, Seattle, United States of America
  • 2German Research Centre for Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany
  • 3Harding Center for Risk Literacy, Faculty of Health Sciences Brandenburg, University of Potsdam
  • 4Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany
  • 5Norwegian Computing Center, Oslo, Norway
  • 6Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy
  • 7Center for Adaptive Rationality, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany
  • 8Hans-Ertel-Centre for Weather Research, Offenbach, Germany

Abstract. Earthquake models can produce aftershock forecasts, which have recently been released to lay audiences following large earthquakes. While visualization literature suggests that displaying forecast uncertainty can improve how forecast maps are used, research on uncertainty visualization is missing from earthquake science. We designed a pre-registered online experiment to test the effectiveness of three visualization techniques for displaying aftershock forecast maps and their uncertainty. These maps showed the forecasted number of aftershocks at each location for a week following a hypothetical mainshock, along with the uncertainty around each location’s forecast. Three different uncertainty visualizations were produced: (1) forecast and uncertainty maps adjacent to one another; (2) the forecast map depicted in a color scheme, with the uncertainty shown by the transparency of the color; and (3) two maps that showed the lower and upper bounds of the forecast distribution at each location. Unlike previous experiments, we compared the three uncertainty visualizations using tasks that are systematically designed to address broadly applicable and user-generated communication goals. We compared task responses between participants using uncertainty visualizations and using the forecast map shown without its uncertainty (the current practice). Participants completed two map-reading tasks that targeted several dimensions of the readability of uncertainty visualizations. Participants then performed a comparative judgment task, which demonstrated whether a visualization was successful in reaching two key communication goals: indicating where many aftershocks and no aftershocks are likely (sure bets) and where the forecast is low but the uncertainty is high enough to imply potential risk (surprises). All visualizations performed equally well in the goal of communicating sure bet situations. But the visualization with lower and upper bounds was substantially better than the other designs at communicating surprises. These results have implications for the communication of forecast uncertainty both within and beyond earthquake science.

Max Schneider et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2021-237', Anonymous Referee #1, 27 Sep 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Max Schneider, 26 Nov 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on nhess-2021-237', Mary Anne Clive, 13 Oct 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Max Schneider, 26 Nov 2021

Max Schneider et al.

Max Schneider et al.

Viewed

Total article views: 451 (including HTML, PDF, and XML)
HTML PDF XML Total BibTeX EndNote
347 93 11 451 3 4
  • HTML: 347
  • PDF: 93
  • XML: 11
  • Total: 451
  • BibTeX: 3
  • EndNote: 4
Views and downloads (calculated since 03 Sep 2021)
Cumulative views and downloads (calculated since 03 Sep 2021)

Viewed (geographical distribution)

Total article views: 399 (including HTML, PDF, and XML) Thereof 399 with geography defined and 0 with unknown origin.
Country # Views %
  • 1
1
 
 
 
 
Latest update: 05 Dec 2021
Download
Short summary
Aftershock forecasts are desired for risk response but public communications often omit their uncertainty. We evaluate three uncertainty visualization designs for aftershock forecast maps. In an online experiment, participants complete map-reading and judgment tasks relevant across natural hazards. While all designs reveal which areas are likely to have many or no aftershocks, one design can also convey that areas with high uncertainty can have more aftershocks than forecasted.
Altmetrics