Finding the Slippery Slope: Detecting Landslides from Space


Abstract

  • Rainfall-triggered landslides occur in nearly every country around the world, produce billions of dollars of damages and cause thousands of fatalities, and that is just in one year. Understanding and modeling the dynamics of rainfall-triggered landslides is a challenging task due to precipitation variability and the complexity of approximating landslide failure mechanisms over broader scales. Satellite data provides a unique perspective to estimate landslide triggering, but the accuracy of the modeling is highly reliant on the scale and methodology at which the evaluation is considered. This presentation outlines several different on-going efforts to model landslide activity at different spatial and temporal scales using deterministic, statistical and empirical methodologies. From a single hillslope in Washington to the entire region of Central America to a global landslide cataloging effort, this presentation will explore the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of estimating landslide hazards over various climatologic, topographic and political settings.