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Volume 18, issue 4 | Copyright

Special issue: Landslide early warning systems: monitoring systems, rainfall...

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 1037-1054, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 04 Apr 2018

Research article | 04 Apr 2018

Regional rainfall thresholds for landslide occurrence using a centenary database

Teresa Vaz, José Luís Zêzere, Susana Pereira, Sérgio Cruz Oliveira, Ricardo A. C. Garcia, and Ivânia Quaresma Teresa Vaz et al.
  • Centre for Geographical Studies, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, 1600-276, Portugal

Abstract. This work proposes a comprehensive method to assess rainfall thresholds for landslide initiation using a centenary landslide database associated with a single centenary daily rainfall data set. The method is applied to the Lisbon region and includes the rainfall return period analysis that was used to identify the critical rainfall combination (cumulated rainfall duration) related to each landslide event. The spatial representativeness of the reference rain gauge is evaluated and the rainfall thresholds are assessed and calibrated using the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) metrics.

Results show that landslide events located up to 10km from the rain gauge can be used to calculate the rainfall thresholds in the study area; however, these thresholds may be used with acceptable confidence up to 50km from the rain gauge. The rainfall thresholds obtained using linear and potential regression perform well in ROC metrics. However, the intermediate thresholds based on the probability of landslide events established in the zone between the lower-limit threshold and the upper-limit threshold are much more informative as they indicate the probability of landslide event occurrence given rainfall exceeding the threshold. This information can be easily included in landslide early warning systems, especially when combined with the probability of rainfall above each threshold.

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Short summary
This work proposes a comprehensive method to assess rainfall thresholds for landslide initiation using centenary landslide and rainfall data. The method includes the identification of critical rainfall related to each landslide event, the calculation and calibration of rainfall thresholds and the evaluation of rain gauge spatial representativeness. Results show that thresholds based on a probabilistic approach are highly recommended and can be easily included in early warning systems.
This work proposes a comprehensive method to assess rainfall thresholds for landslide initiation...