Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-873
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-873
03 Apr 2024
 | 03 Apr 2024

Characterizing the scale of regional landslide triggering from storm hydrometeorology

Jonathan P. Perkins, Nina S. Oakley, Brian D. Collins, Skye C. Corbett, and W. Paul Burgess

Abstract. Rainfall strongly affects landslide triggering; however, understanding how storm characteristics relate to the severity of landslides at the regional scale has thus far remained unclear, despite the societal benefits that would result from defining this relationship. As mapped landslide inventories typically cover a small region relative to a storm system, here we develop a proxy for landslide-inducing rainfall, A*, based on extremes of modelled soil water relative to its local climatology. We calibrate A* using four landslide inventories, comprising over 11,000 individual landslides over four unique storm events, and find that a common threshold can be applied to estimate regional shallow landslide triggering potential across diverse climatic regimes in California (USA). We then use the spatial distribution of A*, along with topography, to calculate the landslide potential area (LPA) for nine landslide-inducing storm events over the past twenty years, and test whether atmospheric metrics describing the strength of landfalling storms, such as integrated water vapor transport, correlate with the magnitude of hazardous landslide-inducing rainfall. We find that although the events with the largest LPA do occur during exceptional atmospheric river (AR) storms, the strength of landfalling atmospheric rivers does not scale neatly with landslide potential area, and even exceptionally strong ARs may yield minimal landslide impacts. Other factors, such as antecedent soil moisture driven by storm frequency, and mesoscale precipitation features within storms, are instead more likely to dictate the patterns of landslide-generating rainfall throughout the state.

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Jonathan P. Perkins, Nina S. Oakley, Brian D. Collins, Skye C. Corbett, and W. Paul Burgess

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Review of “Characterizing the scale of regional landslide triggering from storm hydrometeorology” by Perkins et al.,', Odin Marc, 22 Apr 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-873', Ben Mirus, 14 May 2024
Jonathan P. Perkins, Nina S. Oakley, Brian D. Collins, Skye C. Corbett, and W. Paul Burgess
Jonathan P. Perkins, Nina S. Oakley, Brian D. Collins, Skye C. Corbett, and W. Paul Burgess

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Short summary
Landslides are a global issue that results in deaths and economic losses annually. However, it is not clear how storm severity relates to landslide severity across large regions. Here we develop a method to estimate the footprint of landslide area and compare this to meteorologic estimates of storm severity. We find that total storm strength does not clearly relate to landslide area. Rather, landslide area depends on soil wetness and smaller storm structures that can produce intense rainfall.