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Journal Article

Seasonal Landslide Activity Lags Annual Precipitation Pattern in the Pacific Northwest


Luna,  Lisa
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research;

Korup,  O.
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Luna, L., Korup, O. (2022): Seasonal Landslide Activity Lags Annual Precipitation Pattern in the Pacific Northwest. - Geophysical Research Letters, 49, 18, e2022GL098506.

Cite as: https://publications.pik-potsdam.de/pubman/item/item_28012
Seasonal variations in landslide activity remain understudied compared to recent advances in landslide early warning at hourly to daily timescales. Here, we learn the seasonal pattern of monthly landslide activity in the Pacific Northwest from five heterogeneous landslide inventories with differing spatial and temporal coverage and reporting protocols combined in a Bayesian multi-level model. We find that landslide activity is distinctly seasonal, with credible increases in landslide intensity, inter-annual variability, and probability marking the onset of the landslide season in November. Peaks in landslide probability in January and intensity in February lag the annual peak in mean monthly precipitation and landslide activity is more variable in winter than in summer, when landslides are rare. For a given monthly rainfall, landslide intensity at the season peak in February is up to 10 times higher than at the onset in November, underlining the importance of antecedent seasonal hillslope conditions.