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Uncertainty analysis of a rainfall threshold estimate for stony debris flow based on the backward dynamical approach

Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences , Volume 21, pp 1769-1784; doi:10.5194/nhess-21-1769-2021

Abstract: A rainfall threshold is a function of some rainfall quantities that provides the conditions beyond which the probability of debris-flow occurrence is considered significant. Many uncertainties may affect the thresholds calibration and, consequently, its robustness. This study aims to assess the uncertainty in the estimate of a rainfall threshold for stony debris flow based on the backward dynamical approach, an innovative method to compute the rainfall duration and averaged intensity strictly related to a measured debris flow. The uncertainty analysis is computed by performing two Monte Carlo cascade simulations: (i) to assess the variability in the event characteristics estimate due to the uncertainty in the backward dynamical approach parameters and data and (ii) to quantify the impact of this variability on the threshold calibration. The application of this procedure to a case study highlights that the variability in the event characteristics can be both low and high. Instead, the threshold coefficients have a low dispersion showing good robustness of the threshold estimate. Moreover, the results suggest that some event features are correlated with the variability of the rainfall event duration and intensity. The proposed method is suitable to analyse the uncertainty of other threshold calibration approaches.
Keywords: rainfall / uncertainty / debris flow / function / threshold estimate / stony / duration
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