I correlated 12 years of annual movement of 18 points on a large, continuously moving, deep-seated landslide with a regional moisture balance index (moisture balance drought index, MBDI). I used MBDI values calculated from a combination of historical precipitation and air temperature data from A.D. 1895 to 2010, and downscaled climate projections using the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change A2 emissions scenario for 2011–2099. At the landslide, temperature is projected to increase ~0.5 °C/10 yr between 2011 and 2099, while precipitation decreases at a rate of ~2 mm/10 yr. Landslide movement correlated with the MBDI with integration periods of 12 and 48 months. The correlation between movement and MBDI suggests that the MBDI functions as a proxy for groundwater pore pressures and landslide mobility. I used the correlation to forecast decreasing landslide movement between 2011 and 2099, with the head of the landslide expected to stop moving in the mid-21st century. The MBDI, or a similar moisture balance index that accounts for evapotranspiration, has considerable potential as a tool for forecasting the magnitude of ongoing deep-seated landslide movement, and for assessing the onset or likelihood of regional, deep-seated landslide activity.
Additional publication details
Regional moisture balance control of landslide motion: implications for landslide forecasting in a changing climate