Journal cover Journal topic
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/nhess-2017-73
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
16 Feb 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).
Sensitivity analysis and calibration of a dynamic physically-based slope stability model
Thomas Zieher1,2, Martin Rutzinger2, Barbara Schneider-Muntau3, Frank Perzl4, David Leidinger5, Herbert Formayer5, and Clemens Geitner1 1Institute of Geography, University of Innsbruck, Innrain 52f, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
2Institute for Interdisciplinary Mountain Research, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Technikerstraße 21a, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
3Unit of Geotechnical and Tunnel Engineering, Institute of Infrastructure, University of Innsbruck, Technikerstraße 13, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
4Austrian Research and Training Centre for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape, Rennweg 1, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
5Institute of Meteorology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Peter Jordan Straße 82, 1190 Vienna, Austria
Abstract. Physically-based modelling of slope stability at catchment scale is still a challenging task. Applying a physically-based model at such scale (1 : 10,000 to 1 : 50,000), parameters with a high impact on the model result should be calibrated to account for (i) the spatial variability of parameter values, (ii) shortcomings of the selected model, (iii) uncertainties of laboratory tests and field measurements or (iv) if parameters cannot be derived experimentally or measured in the field (e.g. calibration constants). While systematic parameter calibration is a common task in hydrological modelling, this is rarely done using physically-based slope stability models. In the present study a dynamic physically-based coupled hydrological/geomechanical slope stability model is calibrated based on a limited number of laboratory tests and a detailed multi-temporal shallow landslide inventory covering two landslide-triggering rainfall events in the Laternser valley, Vorarlberg (Austria). Sensitive parameters are identified based on a local one-at-a-time sensitivity analysis. These parameters (hydraulic conductivity, specific storage, effective angle of internal friction, effective cohesion) are systematically sampled and calibrated for a landslide-triggering rainfall event in August 2005. The identified model ensemble including 25 behavioural model runs with the highest portion of correctly predicted landslides and non-landslides is then validated with another landslide-triggering rainfall event in May 1999. The identified model ensemble correctly predicts the location and the supposed triggering timing of 73.5 % of the observed landslides triggered in August 2005 and 91.5 % of the observed landslides triggered in May 1999. Results of the model ensemble driven with raised precipitation input reveal a slight increase in areas potentially affected by slope failure. At the same time, the peak runoff increases more markedly, suggesting that precipitation intensities during the investigated landslide-triggering rainfall events were already close to or above the soil's infiltration capacity.

Citation: Zieher, T., Rutzinger, M., Schneider-Muntau, B., Perzl, F., Leidinger, D., Formayer, H., and Geitner, C.: Sensitivity analysis and calibration of a dynamic physically-based slope stability model, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/nhess-2017-73, in review, 2017.
Thomas Zieher et al.
Thomas Zieher et al.
Thomas Zieher et al.

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Short summary
At catchment scale, it is challenging to provide the required input parameters for physically-based slope stability models. In the present study, the parameterization of such a model is optimized against observed shallow landslides during two triggering rainfall events. With the resulting set of parameters the model reproduces the location and the triggering timing of most observed landslides. Based on that, potential effects of increasing precipitation intensity on slope stability are assessed.
At catchment scale, it is challenging to provide the required input parameters for...
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