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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2018-371
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2018-371
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Brief communication 19 Dec 2018

Brief communication | 19 Dec 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

The role of antecedent soil moisture conditions on rainfall-triggered shallow landslides

Maurizio Lazzari1, Marco Piccarreta2, and Salvatore Manfreda2 Maurizio Lazzari et al.
  • 1CNR-IBAM, C/da S. Loja, Zona Industriale 85050 Tito Scalo (PZ), Italy
  • 2DICEM, Università degli Studi della Basilicata, Viale dell'Ateneo Lucano 10, 85100 Potenza, Italy

Abstract. Rainfall-triggered shallow landslides have caused losses of human life and millions of euros in damage to property in all parts of the world. The need to prevent such phenomena combined with the difficulty to describe the geo-physical processes over large scales led to the adoption of empirical rainfall thresholds derived from the observed relationship between rainfall intensity/duration and landslide occurrence. These thresholds are generally obtained neglecting the role of the antecedent moisture conditions that should be taken into consideration. In the present manuscript, we explored the role of antecedent soil moisture on the critical rainfall intensity–duration thresholds highlighting its critical impact. Therefore, traditional approaches that neglect such parameter may have a limited value in the early-warning systems. This study was carried out using a record of 326 landslides occurred in the last 18 years in the Basilicata region (southern Italy). Besides the ordinary data (i.e. rainstorm intensity and duration), we also derived the antecedent moisture conditions using a parsimonious hydrological model.

Maurizio Lazzari et al.
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Maurizio Lazzari et al.
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Short summary
Rainfall data and soil degree saturation in the Basilicata region (southern Italy) are used to explore the effects of antecedent soil moisture conditions on rainfall I/D thresholds triggering of 326 shallow landslides occurred in the last 18 years. We found that previous soil degree saturation conditions play a crucial role on landslide triggering, much more than the same rainfalls. Two distinct soil degree saturation values less of 0,7 and more of 0.7 clearly affects the shallow landslides.
Rainfall data and soil degree saturation in the Basilicata region (southern Italy) are used to...
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