What if we held weather forecasters responsible for their errant predictions?

Human fallibility as well as the limitations of geophysical science were set aside in a 13-month long trial in Italy. On October 22, six Italian scientists and an ex-government official were sentenced to six years in prison over the 2009 deadly earthquake in L’Aquila. A regional court found them guilty of multiple manslaughter.

Prosecutors said the defendants gave a falsely reassuring statement before the quake, while the defense maintained there was no way to predict major quakes. The 6.3 magnitude quake devastated the city and killed 309 people.

Many smaller tremors had rattled the area in the months before the quake that destroyed much of the historic center. It took Judge Marco Billi slightly more than four hours to reach the verdict in the trial, which had begun in September 2011.

From Oct 22, 2012 BBC online [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20025626]


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