Dealing with deep uncertainties in landslide modelling for disaster risk reduction under climate change

Landslides have large negative economic and societal impacts, including loss of life and damage to infrastructure. Slope stability assessment is a vital tool for landslide risk management, but high levels of uncertainty often challenge its usefulness. Uncertainties are associated with the numerical model used to assess slope stability and its parameters, with the data characterising the geometric, geotechnic and hydrologic properties of the slope, and with hazard triggers (e.g., rainfall). Uncertainties associated with many of these factors are also likely to be exacerbated further by future climatic and socio-economic changes, such as increased urbanisation and resultant land use change. In this study, we illustrate how numerical models can be used to explore the uncertain factors that influence potential future landslide hazard using a bottom-up strategy. Specifically, we link the Combined Hydrology And Stability Model (CHASM) with sensitivity analysis and Classification And Regression Trees (CART) to identify critical thresholds in slope properties and climatic (rainfall) drivers that lead to slope failure.

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