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Implementation and integrated numerical modeling of a landslide early warning system: a pilot study in Colombia


Huggel, C; Khabarov, N; Obersteiner, M; Ramírez, J M (2010). Implementation and integrated numerical modeling of a landslide early warning system: a pilot study in Colombia. Natural Hazard, 52(2):501-518.

Abstract

Landslide early warning systems (EWS) are an important tool to reduce landslide risks, especially where the potential for structural protection measures is limited. However, design, implementation, and successful operation of a landslide EWS is complex and has not been achieved in many cases. Critical problems are uncertainties related to landslide triggering conditions, successful implementation of emergency protocols, and the response of the local population. We describe here the recent implementation of a landslide EWS for the Combeima valley in Colombia, a region particularly affected by landslide hazards. As in many other cases, an insufficient basis of data (rainfall, soil measurements, landslide event record) and related uncertainties represent a difficult complication. To be able to better assess the influence of the different EWS components, we developed a numerical model that simulates the EWS in a simplified yet integrated way. The results show that the expected landslide-induced losses depend nearly exponentially on the errors in precipitation measurements. Stochastic optimization furthermore suggests an increasing adjustment of the rainfall landslide-triggering threshold for an increasing observation error. These modeling studies are a first step toward a more generic and integrated approach that bears important potential for substantial improvements in design and operation of a landslide EWS.

Abstract

Landslide early warning systems (EWS) are an important tool to reduce landslide risks, especially where the potential for structural protection measures is limited. However, design, implementation, and successful operation of a landslide EWS is complex and has not been achieved in many cases. Critical problems are uncertainties related to landslide triggering conditions, successful implementation of emergency protocols, and the response of the local population. We describe here the recent implementation of a landslide EWS for the Combeima valley in Colombia, a region particularly affected by landslide hazards. As in many other cases, an insufficient basis of data (rainfall, soil measurements, landslide event record) and related uncertainties represent a difficult complication. To be able to better assess the influence of the different EWS components, we developed a numerical model that simulates the EWS in a simplified yet integrated way. The results show that the expected landslide-induced losses depend nearly exponentially on the errors in precipitation measurements. Stochastic optimization furthermore suggests an increasing adjustment of the rainfall landslide-triggering threshold for an increasing observation error. These modeling studies are a first step toward a more generic and integrated approach that bears important potential for substantial improvements in design and operation of a landslide EWS.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2010
Deposited On:12 Feb 2011 15:33
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 05:37
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0921-030X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-009-9393-0

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