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Open AccessArticle

Determination of Empirical Rainfall Thresholds for Shallow Landslides in Slovenia Using an Automatic Tool

Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, Department of Geology, University of Ljubljana, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
CNR-IRPI—Research Institute for Geo-Hydrological Protection of the Italian National Research Council, 06127 Perugia, Italy
Geological Survey of Slovenia, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(5), 1449;
Received: 29 April 2020 / Revised: 14 May 2020 / Accepted: 18 May 2020 / Published: 19 May 2020
Rainfall-triggered shallow landslides represent a major threat to people and infrastructure worldwide. Predicting the possibility of a landslide occurrence accurately means understanding the trigger mechanisms adequately. Rainfall is the main cause of slope failures in Slovenia, and rainfall thresholds are among the most-used tools to predict the possible occurrence of rainfall-triggered landslides. The recent validation of the prototype landslide early system in Slovenia highlighted the need to define new reliable rainfall thresholds. In this study, several empirical thresholds are determined using an automatic tool. The thresholds are represented by a power law curve that links the cumulated event rainfall (E, in mm) with the duration of the rainfall event (D, in h). By eliminating all subjective criteria thanks to the automated calculation, thresholds at diverse non-exceedance probabilities are defined and validated, and the uncertainties associated with their parameters are estimated. Additional thresholds are also calculated for two different environmental classifications. The first classification is based on mean annual rainfall (MAR) with the national territory divided into three classes. The area with the highest MAR has the highest thresholds, which indicates a likely adaptation of the landscape to higher amounts of rainfall. The second classification is based on four lithological units. Two-thirds of the considered landslides occur in the unit of any type of clastic sedimentary rocks, which proves an influence of the lithology on the occurrence of shallow landslides. Sedimentary rocks that are prone to weathering have the lowest thresholds, while magmatic and metamorphic rocks have the highest thresholds. Thresholds obtained for both classifications are far less reliable due to the low number of empirical points and can only be used as indicators of rainfall conditions for each of the classes. Finally, the new national thresholds for Slovenia are also compared with other regional, national, and global thresholds. The thresholds can be used to define probabilistic schemes aiming at the operative prediction of rainfall-induced shallow landslides in Slovenia, in the framework of the Slovenian prototype early warning system. View Full-Text
Keywords: rainfall thresholds calculation; mean annual rainfall; lithology; Slovenia rainfall thresholds calculation; mean annual rainfall; lithology; Slovenia
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Jordanova, G.; Gariano, S.L.; Melillo, M.; Peruccacci, S.; Brunetti, M.T.; Jemec Auflič, M. Determination of Empirical Rainfall Thresholds for Shallow Landslides in Slovenia Using an Automatic Tool. Water 2020, 12, 1449.

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