Using Field-Based Monitoring to Enhance the Performance of Rainfall Thresholds for Landslide Warning

Publication Type:
Journal Article
WATER, 2020, 12, (12)
Issue Date:
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Landslides are natural disasters which can create major setbacks to the socioeconomic of a region. Destructive landslides may happen in a quick time, resulting in severe loss of lives and properties. Landslide Early Warning Systems (LEWS) can reduce the risk associated with landslides by providing enough time for the authorities and the public to take necessary decisions and actions. LEWS are usually based on statistical rainfall thresholds, but this approach is often associated to high false alarms rates. This manuscript discusses the development of an integrated approach, considering both rainfall thresholds and field monitoring data. The method was implemented in Kalimpong, a town in the Darjeeling Himalayas, India. In this work, a decisional algorithm is proposed using rainfall and real-time field monitoring data as inputs. The tilting angles measured using MicroElectroMechanical Systems (MEMS) tilt sensors were used to reduce the false alarms issued by the empirical rainfall thresholds. When critical conditions are exceeded for both components of the systems (rainfall thresholds and tiltmeters), authorities can issue an alert to the public regarding a possible slope failure. This approach was found effective in improving the performance of the conventional rainfall thresholds. We improved the efficiency of the model from 84% (model based solely on rainfall thresholds) to 92% (model with the integration of field monitoring data). This conceptual improvement in the rainfall thresholds enhances the performance of the system significantly and makes it a potential tool that can be used in LEWS for the study area.
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