A physics-based probabilistic forecasting model for rainfall-induced shallow landslides at regional scale

Other literature type, Article English OPEN
S. Zhang ; L. Zhao ; R. Delgado-Tellez ; H. Bao (2018)
  • Publisher: Copernicus Publications
  • Journal: Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (issn: 1561-8633, eissn: 1684-9981)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.5194/nhess-2016-348, doi: 10.5194/nhess-18-969-2018
  • Subject: G | GE1-350 | Geography. Anthropology. Recreation | QE1-996.5 | Environmental technology. Sanitary engineering | Environmental sciences | Geology | TD1-1066

Conventional outputs of physics-based landslide forecasting models are presented as deterministic warnings by calculating the safety factor (<i>F</i><sub>s</sub>) of potentially dangerous slopes. However, these models are highly dependent on variables such as cohesion force and internal friction angle which are affected by a high degree of uncertainty especially at a regional scale, resulting in unacceptable uncertainties of <i>F</i><sub>s</sub>. Under such circumstances, the outputs of physical models are more suitable if presented in the form of landslide probability values. In order to develop such models, a method to link the uncertainty of soil parameter values with landslide probability is devised. This paper proposes the use of Monte Carlo methods to quantitatively express uncertainty by assigning random values to physical variables inside a defined interval. The inequality <i>F</i><sub>s</sub> &lt; 1 is tested for each pixel in <i>n</i> simulations which are integrated in a unique parameter. This parameter links the landslide probability to the uncertainties of soil mechanical parameters and is used to create a physics-based probabilistic forecasting model for rainfall-induced shallow landslides. The prediction ability of this model was tested in a case study, in which simulated forecasting of landslide disasters associated with heavy rainfalls on 9 July 2013 in the Wenchuan earthquake region of Sichuan province, China, was performed. The proposed model successfully forecasted landslides in 159 of the 176 disaster points registered by the geo-environmental monitoring station of Sichuan province. Such testing results indicate that the new model can be operated in a highly efficient way and show more reliable results, attributable to its high prediction accuracy. Accordingly, the new model can be potentially packaged into a forecasting system for shallow landslides providing technological support for the mitigation of these disasters at regional scale.
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