Beyond tsunami fragility functions: experimental assessment for building damage estimation

Sci Rep. 2023 Aug 31;13(1):14337. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-41047-y.


Tsunami fragility functions (TFF) are statistical models that relate a tsunami intensity measure to a given building damage state, expressed as cumulative probability. Advances in computational and data retrieval speeds, coupled with novel deep learning applications to disaster science, have shifted research focus away from statistical estimators. TFFs offer a "disaster signature" with comparative value, though these models are seldom applied to generate damage estimates. With applicability in mind, we challenge this notion and investigate a portion of TFF literature, selecting three TFFs and two application methodologies to generate a building damage estimation baseline. Further, we propose a simple machine learning method, trained on physical parameters inspired by, but expanded beyond, TFF intensity measures. We test these three methods on the 2011 Ishinomaki dataset after the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami in both binary and multi-class cases. We explore: (1) the quality of building damage estimation using TFF application methods; (2) whether TFF can generalize to out-of-domain building damage datasets; (3) a novel machine learning approach to perform the same task. Our findings suggest that: both TFF methods and our model have the potential to achieve good binary results; TFF methods struggle with multiple classes and out-of-domain tasks, while our proposed method appears to generalize better.