RMS updates Japan earthquake model with lessons from Tohoku


The Tohoku, Japan earthquake and tsunami event in March 2011 was so impactful that it has changed scientists views of earthquake risk across Japan. Nobody expected such a huge tsunami to occur and even though Japan is one of the most earthquake exposed countries in the world, the magnitude and location of the quake were unexpected. As a result, risk modelling firm RMS have launched an updated version of their Japan quake model to take into account data from the event and the latest scientific findings.

The updated RMS Japan Earthquake Model includes a re-characterization of the hazard incorporating findings from the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. This is limited to source model updates including changes to event rates, new seismic sources and the addition of large magnitude events to the stochastic data set.

“This update balances the preliminary, ongoing research from the Japanese Headquarters for Earthquake Research Promotion (HERP) with additional RMS perspectives that include both a wider view of uncertainty, and a new view of post-event seismicity,” said Patricia Grossi, director of earthquake model product management at RMS. “Additionally, in this release, we’ve provided the capability by which our clients can manage tsunami accumulations.”

It’s vital that current events are added into the data catalogue of risk models and that the stochastic event catalogue is expanded to include data which characterizes any unusually large or impactful events, to ensure the models output factors in the potential for future large events. As our readers will be aware, the Tohoku quake impacted a number of Japan quake exposed catastrophe bonds, causing the Muteki Ltd. cat bond to become a total loss. For the cat bond market it is essential that they are confident that risk models reflect the latest and most up to date datasets, especially when there are events which have caused the sector losses.

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