Assessing debris flow activity in a changing climate : open access

T. Turkington, A. Remaitre, J. Ettema, H.Y. Hussin, C.J. van Westen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Future trends in debris flow activity are constructed based on bias-corrected climate change projections using two meteorological proxies: daily precipitation and Convective Available Potential Energy (CAPE) combined with specific humidity for two Alpine areas. Along with a comparison between proxies, future number of days with debris flows are analyzed with respect to different regional and global climate models, Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs), and area for quantile mapping. Two different base periods are also analyzed, as debris flows were observed on only 6 (17) days between 1950 and 1979, yet on 18 (49) days between 1980 and 2009 for Fella River, NE Italy (Barcelonnette, SE French Alps). For both areas, future climate projections vary between no change up to an increase of 6.0 % per decade in days with debris flow occurrences towards the end of 21st century. In Barcelonnette, the base period and proxy have a bigger impact on the future number of debris flow days than the climate model or RCP used. In Fella River, the base period, RCP, and proxy used define the future range. Therefore the selection of proxy, base period and downscaling technique should be carefully considered for future climate change impact studies concerning debris flow activity and associated fast-moving landslides.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-305
JournalClimatic change
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • METIS-317389


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