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https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-111
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-111
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 21 Apr 2020

Submitted as: research article | 21 Apr 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Rainfall and rockfalls in the Canary Islands: assessing a seasonal link

Massimo Melillo1, Stefano Luigi Gariano1, Silvia Peruccacci1, Roberto Sarro2, Rosa Marìa Mateos3, and Maria Teresa Brunetti1 Massimo Melillo et al.
  • 1CNR IRPI, via Madonna Alta 126, 06128, Perugia, Italia
  • 2IGME, c/ Alenza, 1, 28003, Madrid, España
  • 3IGME, Urb. Alcázar del Genil, 4. Edificio Zulema, bajos, 18006, Granada, España

Abstract. Rockfalls are frequent and harmful phenomena occurring in mountain ranges, coastal cliffs and slope cuts. Albeit several natural processes concur in their formation and triggering, rainfall is one of the most common causes. The prediction of rock failures is of social significance for civil protection purposes and can rely on the statistical analysis of past rainfall conditions that caused the failures. The paper describes the analysis of information on rainfall-induced rockfalls in Gran Canaria and Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain). An analysis of the monthly rainfall versus the monthly distribution of rockfalls reveals that they are correlated for most of the year, except in summer, when other triggers act to induce collapses. National and regional catalogues with hourly and daily rainfall measurements are used to reconstruct the cumulated amount (E) and the duration (D) of the rainfall responsible for the rock failures. Adopting a consolidated statistical approach, new ED rainfall thresholds for possible rockfall occurrence and the associated uncertainties are calculated for the two test sites. As far as is known, this is the first attempt to predict this type of failure using the threshold approach. Using the rainfall information, a map of the mean annual rainfall is obtained for Gran Canaria and Tenerife, and it is used to assess the differences between the thresholds. The results of is study are expected to improve the ability to forecast rockfalls in the Canary Islands, in view of implementing an early warning system to mitigate the rockfall hazard and reduce the associated risk.

Massimo Melillo et al.

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Massimo Melillo et al.

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Short summary
In Canary Islands, a link between rainfall and rockfall occurrence is found for most of the year, except for the warm season. Empirical rainfall thresholds for rockfalls are first proposed for Gran Canaria and Tenerife and the dependence of the thresholds on the mean annual rainfall is discussed. The use of thresholds in early warning system might contribute to mitigate the rockfall hazard in the archipelago and reduce the associated risk.
In Canary Islands, a link between rainfall and rockfall occurrence is found for most of the...
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