New global characterisation of landslide exposure

Emberson, Robert; Kirschbaum, Dalia; Stanley, Thomas

Landslides triggered by intense rainfall are hazards that impact people and infrastructure across the world, but comprehensively quantifying exposure to these hazards remains challenging. Unlike earthquakes or flooding, which cover large areas, landslides occur only in highly susceptible parts of a landscape affected by intense rainfall, which may not intersect human settlement or infrastructure. Existing datasets of landslides around the world generally include only those reported to have caused impacts, leading to significant biases toward areas with higher reporting capacity, limiting our understanding of exposure to landslides in developing countries. In this study, we use an alternative approach to estimate exposure to landslides in a homogenous fashion. We have combined a global landslide hazard proxy derived from satellite data with open-source datasets on population, roads and infrastructure to consistently estimate exposure to rapid landslide hazards around the globe. These exposure models compare favourably with existing datasets of rainfall-triggered landslide fatalities, while filling in major gaps in inventory-based estimates in parts of the world with lower reporting capacity. Our findings provide a global estimate of exposure to landslides from 2001 to 2019 that we suggest may be useful to disaster mitigation professionals.

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Emberson, Robert / Kirschbaum, Dalia / Stanley, Thomas: New global characterisation of landslide exposure. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Robert Emberson et al.

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