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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-2018-391
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2018-391
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 25 Jan 2019

Research article | 25 Jan 2019

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

Global detection of rainfall triggered landslide clusters

Susanne A. Benz1,2 and Philipp Blum1 Susanne A. Benz and Philipp Blum
  • 1Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute of Applied Geosciences (AGW), Karlsruhe, Germany
  • 2University of California San Diego (UCSD), School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS), La Jolla, CA, USA

Abstract. An increasing awareness of the cost of landslides on the global economy and of the associated loss of human life, has led to the development of various global landslide databases. However, these databases typically report landslide events instead of individual landslides, i.e. a group of landslides with a common trigger and reported by media, citizens and/or government officials as a single unit. The latter results in significant cataloging and reporting biases. To counteract this biases, this study aims to identify clusters of landslide events that were triggered by the same rainfall event. Here the developed algorithm is applied to the Global Landslide Catalog (GLC) maintained by NASA. The results show that more than 40 % of all landslide events are connected to at least one other event, and that 14 % of all studied landslide events are actually part of a landslide cluster consisting of at least 10 events. However, in a more regional analysis this number ranges from 30 % for the West Coast of North America to 3 % in the Himalaya Region. The cluster with most landslide events in a day is located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with 108 events on 6th April 2010. In contrast, the longest running cluster was observed on the West Coast of North America with 132 events occurring in an area of over 120,000 km2 during 24 days in December 2015. Our study intends to enhance our understanding of landslide clustering and thus will assist in the development of improved, internationally streamlined mitigation strategies for rainfall related landslide clusters.

Susanne A. Benz and Philipp Blum
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Susanne A. Benz and Philipp Blum
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Short summary
This study aims to identify clusters of landslide events within a global database that are triggered by the same rainfall event. Results show that 14 % of all studied landslide events are actually part of a landslide cluster consisting of at least 10 events. However, in a more regional analysis this number ranges from 30 % for the West Coast of North America to 3 % in the Himalaya Region. These findings provide an improved understanding for managing landslide mitigations on a larger scale.
This study aims to identify clusters of landslide events within a global database that are...
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