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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-104
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-104
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 03 Apr 2019

Research article | 03 Apr 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).

A new approach to mapping landslide hazards: a probabilistic integration of empirical and process-based models in the North Cascades of Washington, U.S.A.

Ronda Strauch1, Erkan Istanbulluoglu2, and Jon Riedel3 Ronda Strauch et al.
  • 1Seattle City Light, Seattle, WA and Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • 2Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • 3National Park Service, US Dept. of Interior, Sedro-Woolley, WA

Abstract. We developed a new approach for mapping landslide hazard by combining probabilities of landslide impact derived from a data-driven statistical approach and process-based model of shallow landsliding. Our statistical approach integrates the influence of seven site attributes on observed landslides using a frequency ratio method. Influential attributes and resulting susceptibility maps depend on the observations of landslides considered: all types of landslides, debris avalanches only, or source areas of debris avalanches. These observational datasets reflect the capture of different landslide processes or components, which relate to different landslide-inducing factors. Slopes greater than 35° are more frequently associated with landslide initiation, while higher landslide hazards at gentler slopes (< 30°) reflect depositional processes from observations of all landslide types or debris avalanches. Source areas are associated with mid to high elevations (1,400 to 1,800 m), where they are linked to ecosystem transition (e.g., forest to barren), while all landslides types and debris avalanches show increasing frequency in lower elevations (< 1,200 m). Slope is a key attribute in the initiation of landslides, while lithology is mainly linked to transport and depositional processes. East (west) aspect is a positive (negative) landslide-influencing factor, likely due to differences in forest cover and associated root cohesion, and evapotranspiration. The empirical model probability derived from debris avalanche source area is combined probabilistically with a previously developed processed-based probabilistic model to produce an integrated probability of landslide hazard for initiation that includes mechanisms not captured by the infinite slope stability model. We apply our approach in North Cascades National Park Complex in Washington, USA, to provide multiple landslide hazard maps that land managers can use for planning and decision making, as well as educating the public about hazards from landslides in this remote high-relief terrain.

Ronda Strauch et al.
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Short summary
Identifying landslide hazards continues to be challenging but important for understanding risks. We combine benefits from modeling landslide hazards from observed landslides and site characteristics, with modeling based on physical mechanisms such as soil moisture. Integrating these two approaches improved landslide hazard mapping by accounting for processes not captured by the physically-based model. We demonstrate our approach in Washington, USA, to provide landslide hazard maps for managers.
Identifying landslide hazards continues to be challenging but important for understanding risks....
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