A severe landslide event in the Alpine foreland under possible future climate and land-use changes

Publication from Digital
Fernerkundung und Geoinformation

Douglas Maraun, Raphael Knevels, Aditya N. Mishra, Heimo Truhetz, Emanuele Bevacqua, Herwig Proske, Giuseppe Zappa, Alexander Brenning, Helene Petschko, Armin Schaffer, Philip Leopold & Bryony L. Puxley

Communications Earth & Environment volume 3, Article number: 87 (2022), 4/2022


Landslides are a major natural hazard, but uncertainties about their occurrence in a warmer climate are substantial. The relative role of rainfall, soil moisture, and land-use changes and the importance of climate change mitigation are not well understood. Here, we develop an event storyline approach to address these issues, considering an observed event in Austria with some 3000 landslides as a showcase. We simulate the event using a convection permitting regional climate model and a statistical landslide model at present and a range of plausible future climate and land use conditions. Depending on the changes of rainfall and soil moisture, the area affected during a 2009-type event could grow by 45% at 4 K global warming, although a slight reduction is also possible. Such growth could be reduced to less than 10% by limiting global warming according to the Paris agreement. Anticipated land-use changes towards a climate-resilient forest would fully compensate for such a limited increase in hazard.