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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-37
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-37
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 13 Mar 2020

Submitted as: research article | 13 Mar 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Sensitivity and identifiability of rheological parameters in debris flow modeling

Gerardo Zegers1,2, Pablo A. Mendoza1,3, Alex Garces1, and Santiago Montserrat1 Gerardo Zegers et al.
  • 1Advanced Mining Technology Center, Universidad de Chile
  • 2Department of Geosciences, University of Calgary
  • 3Department of Civil Engineering, Universidad de Chile

Abstract. Over the past decades, several numerical models have been developed to understand, simulate and predict debris flow events. Typically, these models simplify the complex interactions between water and solids using a single-phase approach and different rheological models to represent flow resistance. In this study, we perform a sensitivity analysis on the parameters of a debris flow numerical model (FLO-2D) for a suite of relevant variables (i.e., maximum flood area, maximum flow velocity, maximum flow velocity, deposit volume). Our aims are to (i) examine the degree of model overparameterization, and (ii) assess the effectiveness of observational constraints to improve parameter identifiability. We use the Distributed Evaluation of Local Sensitivity Analysis (DELSA) method, which is a hybrid local-global technique. Specifically, we analyze two creeks in northern Chile that were affected by debris flows on March 25, 2015. Our results show that SD and β1 – a parameter related to viscosity – provide the largest sensitivities. Further, our results demonstrate that equifinality is present in FLO-2D, and that final deposited volume and maximum flood area contain considerable information to identify model parameters.

Gerardo Zegers et al.

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Gerardo Zegers et al.

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Short summary
We perform a sensitivity analysis on the parameters of a numerical debris-flow model and examine the effects of using post-event measurements on two creeks in Chile. Our results demonstrate the utility of sensitivity analysis in debris-flow modeling and the benefits of post-event observations on parameter identifiability. This study provides guidance on the choice of uncertain parameters, contributing to more reliable simulations for debris-flow risk assessments and land use planning.
We perform a sensitivity analysis on the parameters of a numerical debris-flow model and examine...
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