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    Rainfall intensity–duration conditions for mass movements in Taiwan

    Chen CW, Saito H, Oguchi T

    Mass movements, Landslides, Debris flows, I–D thresholds, Rainfall, Typhoons

    ID correlations and thresholds for all mass movements, landslides only, and debris flows only.

    Mass movements caused by rainfall events in Taiwan are analyzed during a 7-year period from 2006 to 2012. Data from the Taiwan Soil and Water Conservation Bureau reports were compiled for 263 mass movement events, including 156 landslides, 91 debris flows, and 16 events with both landslides and debris flows. Rainfall totals for each site location were obtained from interpolated rain gauge data. The rainfall intensity–duration (I–D) relationship was examined to establish a rainfall threshold for mass movements using random sampling: I = 18.10(±2.67)D−0.17(±0.04) , where I is mean rainfall intensity (mm/h) and D is the time (h) between the beginning of a rainfall event and the resulting mass movement. Significant differences were found between rainfall intensities and thresholds for landslides and debris flows. For short-duration rainfall events, higher mean rainfall intensities were required to trigger debris flows. In contrast, for long-duration rainfall events, similar mean rainfall intensities triggered both landslides and debris flows. Mean rainfall intensity was rescaled by mean annual precipitation (MAP) to define a new threshold: IMAP  = 0.0060(±0.0009)D−0.17(±0.04) , where IMAP is rescaled rainfall intensity and MAP is the minimum for mountainous areas in Taiwan (3000 mm). Although the I–D threshold for Taiwan is high, the IMAP–D threshold for Taiwan tends to be low relative to other areas around the world. Our results indicate that Taiwan is highly prone to rainfall-induced mass movements. This study also shows that most mass movements occur in high rainfall-intensity periods, but some events occur before or after the rainfall peak. Both antecedent and peak rainfall play important roles in triggering landslides, whereas debris flow occurrence is more related to peak rainfall than antecedent rainfall.