EGU General Assembly 2020
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the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Tuning IMS station processing parameters and detection thresholds to increase detection precision and decrease detection miss rate

Christos Saragiotis and Ivan Kitov
Christos Saragiotis and Ivan Kitov
  • CTBTO Preparatory Commission, IDC, Vienna, Austria (

Two principal performance measures of the International Monitoring System (IMS) stations detection capability are the rate of automatic detections associated with events in the Reviewed Event Bulletin (REB) and the rate of detections manually added to the REB. These two metrics roughly correspond to the precision (which is the complement of the false-discovery rate) and miss rate or false-negative rate statistical measures of a binary classification test, respectively. The false-discovery and miss rates are clearly significantly influenced by the number of phases detected by the detection algorithm, which in turn depends on prespecified slowness-, frequency- and azimuth- dependent threshold values used in the short-term average over long-term average ratio detection scheme of the IMS stations. In particular, the lower the threshold, the more the detections and therefore the lower the miss rate but the higher the false discovery rate; the higher the threshold, the less the detections and therefore the higher the miss rate but also the lower the false discovery rate. In that sense decreasing both the false-discovery rate and the miss rate are conflicting goals that need to be balanced. On one hand, it is essential that the miss rate is as low as possible since no nuclear explosion should go unnoticed by the IMS. On the other hand, a high false-discovery rate compromises the quality of the automatically generated event lists and adds heavy and unnecessary workload to the seismic analysts during the interactive processing stage.

A previous study concluded that a way to decrease both the miss and false-discovery rates as well as the analyst workload is to increase the retiming interval, i.e., the maximum allowable time that an analyst is allowed to move an arrival pick without having to declare a new arrival. Indeed, when a detection needs to be moved by an interval larger than the retiming interval, not only is this a much more time-consuming task for the analyst than just retiming it, but it also affects negatively both the associated rate (the automatic detection is deleted and therefore not associated to an event) and the added rate (a new arrival has to be added to arrival list). The International Data Centre has increased the retiming interval from 4 s to 10 s since October 2018. We show how this change affected the associated-detections and added-detections rates and how the values of these metrics can be further improved by tuning the detection threshold levels.

How to cite: Saragiotis, C. and Kitov, I.: Tuning IMS station processing parameters and detection thresholds to increase detection precision and decrease detection miss rate, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-8949,, 2020.


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