Global detection of rainfall-triggered landslide clusters
An increasing awareness of the cost of landslides on the global economy and of the associated loss of human life has led to the development of various global landslide databases. However, these databases typically report landslide events instead of individual landslides, i.e., a group of landslides with a common trigger and reported by media, citizens and/or government officials as a single unit. The latter results in significant cataloging and reporting biases. To counteract these biases, this study aims to identify clusters of landslide events that were triggered by the same rainfall event. An algorithm is developed that finds a series of landslide events that (a) is continuous with no more than 2 d between individual events and where (b) precipitation at the location of an individual event correlates with precipitation of at least one other event. The developed algorithm is applied to the Global Landslide Catalog (GLC) maintained by NASA. The results show that more than 40 % of all landslide events are connected to at least one other event and that 14 % of all studied landslide events are actually part of a landslide cluster consisting of at least 10 events and up to 108 events in 1 d. Duration of the detected clusters also varies greatly from 1 to 24 d. Our study intends to enhance our understanding of landslide clustering and thus will assist in the development of improved, internationally streamlined mitigation strategies for rainfall-related landslide clusters.