A Multi-parametric Climatological Approach to Study the 2016 Amatrice–Norcia (Central Italy) Earthquake Preparatory Phase
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Based on observations prior to earthquakes, recent theoretical considerations suggest that some geophysical quantities reveal abnormal changes that anticipate moderate and strong earthquakes, within a defined spatial area (the so-called Dobrovolsky area) according to a lithosphere–atmosphere–ionosphere coupling model. One of the possible pre-earthquake effects could be the appearance of some climatological anomalies in the epicentral region, weeks/months before the major earthquakes. In this paper, the period of 2 months preceding the Amatrice–Norcia (Central Italy) earthquake sequence, that started on 24 August 2016 with an M6 earthquake and a few months later produced other two major shocks (i.e. an M5.9 on 26 October and then an M6.5 on 30 October), was analyzed in terms of skin temperature, total column water vapour and total column of ozone, compared with the past 37-year trend. The novelty of the method stands in the way the complete time series is reduced, where also the possible effect of global warming is properly removed. The simultaneous analysis showed the presence of persistent contemporary anomalies in all of the analysed parameters. To validate the technique, a confutation/confirmation analysis was undertaken where these parameters were successfully analyzed in the same months but considering a seismically “calm” year, when significant seismicity was not present. We also extended the analysis to all available years to construct a confusion matrix comparing the occurrence of climatological data anomalies with real seismicity. This work confirms the potentiality of multi parameters in anticipating the occurrence of large earthquakes in Central Italy, thus reinforcing the idea of considering such behaviour an effective tool for an integrated system of future earthquake prediction.
KeywordsSeismic precursors LAIC strong and intermediate earthquakes thermal precursory anomaly
This work was undertaken in the framework of the ESA-funded project SAFE (Swarm for Earthquake study). We also thank two anonymous referees that provided, together with the Editor, some useful comments that allowed us to improve the original version of the manuscript significantly.
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