A Global Landslide Potential Map That Updates Every 30 Minutes

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Researchers from NASA have developed a global landslide susceptibility model that updates every thirty minutes.  The model uses satellite imagery and remotely sensed data to compile a worldwide view of landslide potential that can be used for disaster planning.  The model couples precipitation data (from the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission) with data about features that contribute to landslides such as, deforestation, fault lines, and bedrock and slope stability.

While previous models have developed global landslide susceptibility maps, the researchers built this model with more accurate and higher resolution satellite and earth observation data.  Elevation data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission and deforestation data from Landsat are two such datasets.

World map assessing landslide potential. NASA Earth Observatory images by Jesse Allen, using landslide susceptibility data provided by Thomas Stanley and Dalia Kirschbaum (NASA/GSFC), and topographic data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM).

World map assessing landslide potential. NASA Earth Observatory images by Jesse Allen, using landslide susceptibility data provided by Thomas Stanley and Dalia Kirschbaum (NASA/GSFC), and topographic data from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM).

The model is known as Landslide Hazard Assessment Model for Situational Awareness (LHASA).  The nowcast aspect of the model provides 30-minute interval updates that flags high or moderate landslide probability around the world.

The Nowcast option of the Global Landslide model provides 30 minute updates.

The Nowcast option of the Global Landslide model provides 30 minute updates. The model looks at landslide vulnerability in areas experiencing precipation and flags areas that either have a high (red) or moderate (yellow) landslide probability.

While the map is the first to provide a global monitoring of landslide probability it does have some limitations.  Since it relies on 1-km resolution satellite data, smaller scale landslides might be overlooked.  Since the model also doesn’t factor in ground saturation, landslides caused by localized heavy rainfall are also not part of the map.


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The global model provides a big picture view of landslide susceptibility and provides insight for areas that have data gaps.

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