HydroMet: A new code for automated objective optimization of hydrometeorological thresholds for landslide initiation

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Landslide detection and warning systems are important tools for mitigation of potential hazards in landslide prone areas. Traditionally, warning systems for shallow landslides have been informed by rainfall intensity-duration thresholds. More recent advances have introduced the concept of hydrometeorological thresholds that are informed not only by rainfall, but also by subsurface hydrological measurements. Previously, hydrometeorological thresholds have been shown to improve capabilities for forecasting shallow landslides, and they may ultimately be adapted to more generalized landslide forecasting. We present HydroMet, a code developed in Python by the U.S. Geological Survey, which allows users to guide the automated estimation of hydrometeorological thresholds for a site or area of interest, with the flexibility to select preferred threshold variables for the antecedent hydrologic conditions and the triggering meteorological conditions. Users can import hydrologic time-series data, including rainfall, soil-water content, and pore-water pressure, along with the times of known landslide occurrences, and then conduct objective optimization of warning thresholds using receiver operating characteristics. HydroMet presents many additional options, including selecting the threshold formula, the timescale of possible threshold variables, and the skill statistics used for optimization. Users can develop dual-stage thresholds for watch and warning alerts, with a lower, risk-averse threshold to avoid missed alarms and a less conservative threshold to minimize false alarms. Users may also choose to split their inventory data into calibration and evaluation subsets to independently evaluate the performance of optimized thresholds. We present output and applications of HydroMet using monitoring data from landslide-prone areas in the U.S. to demonstrate its utility and ability to produce thresholds with limited missed and false alarms for informing the next generation of reliable landslide warning systems.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title HydroMet: A new code for automated objective optimization of hydrometeorological thresholds for landslide initiation
Series title Water
DOI 10.3390/w13131752
Volume 13
Issue 3
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher MDPI
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center
Description 1752, 17 p.
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