We present the development and testing of multiple epidemic‐type aftershock sequence (ETAS)‐based earthquake forecasting models for Switzerland, aiming to identify suitable candidate models for operational earthquake forecasting (OEF) at the Swiss Seismological Service. We consider seven model variants: four variants use parameters obtained through fitting the ETAS model to the Swiss earthquake catalog, and three use generic parameters that were fit to Californian seismicity or global seismicity from regions tectonically similar to Switzerland. The model variants use different pieces of information from the current state‐of‐the‐art time‐independent earthquake rate forecast underlying the Swiss seismic hazard model (SUIhaz2015), and one is calibrated on a larger local data set that includes smaller earthquakes by allowing a time‐dependent estimate of the completeness magnitude. We test all variants using pseudoprospective short‐term (7‐day) forecasting experiments and retrospective long‐term (30‐year) consistency tests. Our results suggest that all ETAS‐based models outperform the time‐independent SUIhaz2015 forecast in the short term, but two of the model variants overestimate event numbers in the long term. ETAS parameters are found not to be universally transferrable across tectonic regimes, and region‐specific calibration is found to add value over generic parameters. Finally, we rank all model variants based on six criteria, including the results of the pseudoprospective and retrospective tests, as well as other criteria such as model run time or consistency with the existing long‐term model, using a multicriteria decision analysis approach. Based on this ranking, we propose the ETAS model calibrated on the Swiss catalog, and with the spatial background seismicity distribution of SUIhaz2015 as the ideal candidate for the first Swiss OEF system. All procedures and choices involved in the development and testing of the Swiss ETAS model follow recently established expert recommendations and can act as a reference in the establishment of time‐variant earthquake forecasting models for other regions.

You do not have access to this content, please speak to your institutional administrator if you feel you should have access.