Modelling of post-monsoon drying in Nepal: implications for landslide hazard

Van Wyk de Vries, Maximillian; Li, Sihan; Arrell, Katherine; Baniya, Jeevan; Basnet, Dipak; Basyal, Gopi K.; Bhotia, Nyima Dorjee; Densmore, Alexander L.; Dong, Tek Bahadur; Dunant, Alexandre; Harvey, Erin L.; Jimee, Ganesh K.; Kincey, Mark E.; Oven, Katie; Paudyal, Sarmila; Pujara, Dammar Singh; Puri, Anuradha; Shrestha, Ram; Rosser, Nick J.; Dadson, Simon J.

Soil moisture is a key preconditioning factor influencing hillslope stability and the initiation of landslides. Direct measurements of soil moisture on a large scale are logistically complicated, expensive, and therefore sparse, resulting in large data gaps. In this study, we calibrate a numerical land surface model to improve our representation of post-monsoon soil drying in landslide-prone Nepal. We use a parameter perturbation experiment to identify optimal parameter sets at three field monitoring sites and evaluate the performance of those optimal parameter sets at each location. This process enables the calibration of key soil hydraulic parameters, in particular a higher hydraulic conductivity and a lower saturation moisture content relative to the default parameter setting. Runs with the calibrated model parameters provide a substantially more accurate (50 % or greater reduction in root mean squared error) soil moisture record than those with the default model parameters, even when calibrated from sites as much as 250 km apart. This process enables meaningful calculation of post-monsoon soil moisture decay at locations with no in situ monitoring, so as to inform a key component of landslide susceptibility mapping in Nepal and other regions where field measurements of soil moisture are limited.

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Van Wyk de Vries, Maximillian / Li, Sihan / Arrell, Katherine / et al: Modelling of post-monsoon drying in Nepal: implications for landslide hazard. 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Maximillian Van Wyk de Vries et al.

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