Scientific article
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Dry Spells and Extreme Precipitation are The Main Trigger of Landslides in Central Europe

Published inScientific Reports, vol. 9, no. 14560
Publication date2019

Landslides are frequently triggered by extreme meteorological events which has led to concern and debate about their activity in a future greenhouse climate. It is also hypothesized that dry spells preceding triggering rainfall may increase slope predisposition to sliding, especially in the case of clay-rich soils. Here we combined dendrogeomorphic time series of landslides and climatic records to test the possible role of dry spells and extreme downpours on process activity in the Outer Western Carpathians (Central Europe). To this end, we tested time series of past frequencies and return periods of landslide reactivations at the regional scale with a Generalized Linear Mixed (GLM) model to explore linkages between landslide occurrences and triggering climate variables. Results show that landslide reactivations are concentrated during years in which spring and summer precipitation sums were significantly higher than usual, and that triggering mechanisms vary between different types of landslides (i.e. complex, shallow or flow-like). The GLM model also points to the susceptibility of landslide bodies to the combined occurrence of long, dry spells followed by large precipitation. Such situations are likely to increase in frequency in the future as climate models predict an enhancement of heatwaves and dry spells in future summers, that would be interrupted by less frequent, yet more intense storms, especially also in mountain regions.

Citation (ISO format)
TICHAVSKÝ, Radek et al. Dry Spells and Extreme Precipitation are The Main Trigger of Landslides in Central Europe. In: Scientific Reports, 2019, vol. 9, n° 14560. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-51148-2
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal2045-2322

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