Evaluation of TRIGRS (transient rainfall infiltration and grid-based regional slope-stability analysis)'s predictive skill for hurricane-triggered landslides: a case study in Macon County, North Carolina

Zonghu Liao, Yang Hong, Dalia Kirschbaum, Robert F. Adler, Jonathan J. Gourley, Rick Wooten
2010 Natural Hazards  
The key to advancing the predictability of rainfall-triggered landslides is to use physically based slope-stability models that simulate the transient dynamical response of the subsurface moisture to spatiotemporal variability of rainfall in complex terrains. TRIGRS (transient rainfall infiltration and grid-based regional slope-stability analysis) is a USGS landslide prediction model, coded in Fortran, that accounts for the influences of hydrology, topography, and soil physics on slope
more » ... . In this study, we quantitatively evaluate the spatiotemporal predictability of a Matlab version of TRIGRS (MaTRIGRS) in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Macon County, North Carolina where Hurricanes Ivan triggered widespread landslides in the 2004 hurricane season. High resolution digital elevation model (DEM) data (6-m LiDAR), USGS STATSGO soil database, and NOAA/ NWS combined radar and gauge precipitation are used as inputs to the model. A local landslide inventory database from North Carolina Geological Survey is used to evaluate the MaTRIGRS' predictive skill for the landslide locations and timing, identifying predictions within a 120-m radius of observed landslides over the 30-h period of Hurricane Ivan's passage in September 2004. Results show that within a radius of 24 m from the landslide location about 67% of the landslide, observations could be successfully predicted but with a high false alarm ratio (90%). If the radius of observation is extended to 120 m, 98% of the landslides are detected with an 18% false alarm ratio. This study shows that MaTRIGRS demonstrates acceptable spatiotemporal predictive skill for landslide occurrences within a 120-m radius in space and a hurricane-event-duration (h) in time, offering the potential to serve as a landslide warning system in areas where accurate rainfall forecasts and detailed field data are available. The validation can be further improved with additional landslide information including the exact time of failure for each landslide and the landslide's extent and run out length.
doi:10.1007/s11069-010-9670-y fatcat:fwhguyuajbd5ziboyrkl7nj2d4