Post.doc project: Performance analysis of landslide early warning systems at regional and local scales

Landslide early warning systems are non-structural risk mitigation strategies with the aim of dealing with intolerably high probabilities of landslide occurrence by reducing risk through the reduction of the exposed elements. The majority of landslide early warning systems deal with rainfall-induced landslides. These systems can be classified, as a function of the scale of analysis, into: “local” and “regional” systems. Several differences exists among these two different types of warning systems, such as: the actors involved in the process, the monitoring tools, the variables selected to define triggering thresholds, the way the warnings are issued and spread to the public.

Luca Piciullo

Luca Piciullo

The PhD research period was mainly focused on the definition of a method to evaluate the performance of early warning systems for rainfall-induced landslide at a regional scale. The EDuMaP method was set up and applied to several landslide early warning systems employed in different sides of the world, such as: Rio de Janeiro, Norway, Campania and Emilia Romagna regions in Italy (see figures below).

Currently, the aim of the post-doc is to extend the applicability of the EDuMaP method also to a catchment scale. The method can also be used as an effective tool to calibrate the thresholds employed as warning levels, thus it will be applied in a test area with the aim of defining the set of warning criteria which maximises the model performance and the relative importance system managers attribute to different types of errors. For a more practical and diffuse application of the EDuMaP method, the intent is also to produce an automatic tool for the performance evaluation, using R software for statistical computing.

Finally, a worldwide review on landslide early warning systems will be carried out, also describing the differences among the correlation models, the decisional algorithms to issue the warnings and the warning management strategies used by the different institutions. Some of these points will be faced in the Work Package "Landslides triggered by hydro-meteorological processes" of the project Klima 2050 together with the possibility to design a prototype landslide early warning system for selected case studies (Kvam in Gudbrandsdalen, Norangsdalen, etc.), defining the best variables to be monitored for warning purposes.