Application of the SHETRAN basin-scale, landslide sediment yield model to the Llobregat basin, Spanish Pyrenees

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Abstract

The first application of the SHETRAN basin-scale, landslide erosion and sediment yield model is carried out for a major landsliding event in the upper 505 km2 of the Llobregat basin, in the eastern Spanish Pyrenees, in November 1982. The model simulates the spatial distribution of shallow landslides and their sediment yield. Acknowledging uncertainty in the model parameter evaluation, the aim of the application was not to reproduce the observed occurrence of landslides as accurately as possible with one simulation, but to bracket the observed pattern with several simulations representing uncertainty in the key input conditions. Bounds on the landslide simulations were thus determined as a function of uncertainty in the vegetation root cohesion (used in the model factor of safety calculations). The resulting upper bound considerably overestimates the observed pattern (17 000 landslides compared with an observation of around 700), but it reproduces several of the principal clusters in the observed pattern. The lower bound contains around 500 landslides. The sediment yield estimates (2670–14 630 t km−2) are comparable to measurements elsewhere in the Pyrenees for extreme events. The results demonstrate an ability to simulate the basin-scale landslide response to a rainfall event and the resulting sediment yield. They also highlight the need for further research in setting the uncertainty bounds and in avoiding large overestimates of landslide occurrence arising in part from a current inability to model small-scale controls for a basin of the given size. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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