Probabilistic forecasting of plausible debris flows from Nevado de Colima (Mexico) using data from the Atenquique debris flow, 1955

Bevilacqua, Andrea; Patra, Abani K.; Bursik, Marcus I.; Pitman, E. Bruce; Macías, José Luis; Saucedo, Ricardo; Hyman, David

We detail a new prediction-oriented procedure aimed at volcanic hazard assessment based on geophysical mass flow models constrained with heterogeneous and poorly defined data. Our method relies on an itemized application of the empirical falsification principle over an arbitrarily wide envelope of possible input conditions. We thus provide a first step towards a objective and partially automated experimental design construction. In particular, instead of fully calibrating model inputs on past observations, we create and explore more general requirements of consistency, and then we separately use each piece of empirical data to remove those input values that are not compatible with it. Hence, partial solutions are defined to the inverse problem. This has several advantages compared to a traditionally posed inverse problem: (i) the potentially nonempty inverse images of partial solutions of multiple possible forward models characterize the solutions to the inverse problem; (ii) the partial solutions can provide hazard estimates under weaker constraints, potentially including extreme cases that are important for hazard analysis; (iii) if multiple models are applicable, specific performance scores against each piece of empirical information can be calculated. We apply our procedure to the case study of the Atenquique volcaniclastic debris flow, which occurred on the flanks of Nevado de Colima volcano (Mexico), 1955. We adopt and compare three depth-averaged models currently implemented in the TITAN2D solver, available from (Version 4.0.0 – last access: 23 June 2016). The associated inverse problem is not well-posed if approached in a traditional way. We show that our procedure can extract valuable information for hazard assessment, allowing the exploration of the impact of synthetic flows that are similar to those that occurred in the past but different in plausible ways. The implementation of multiple models is thus a crucial aspect of our approach, as they can allow the covering of other plausible flows. We also observe that model selection is inherently linked to the inversion problem.



Bevilacqua, Andrea / Patra, Abani K. / Bursik, Marcus I. / et al: Probabilistic forecasting of plausible debris flows from Nevado de Colima (Mexico) using data from the Atenquique debris flow, 1955. 2019. Copernicus Publications.


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