Monday, July 29, 2013

Satellite model could help predict landslides in remote areas

Wagdy Sawahel in Satellite data could not only identify hotspots for landslides, but could also play a part in predicting these potentially devastating events, particularly in remote mountainous regions, a study suggests.

Researchers at the University of California, United States, have developed a model using satellite data on rainfall, topographical features of slopes, and land cover — and by testing the model on a dataset of previous landslides say it predicts these historical events reliably and could be the basis of a real-time, global landslide prediction system.

"Landslides typically occur in mountainous regions where other sources of information, including radar and gauge measurements [used in standard global landslide models], are not available," Amir AghaKouchak, co-author and assistant professor at the Center for Hydrometeorology and Remote Sensing in Irvine, tells SciDev.Net.

"Further, in many developing countries ground-based observations are also limited due to a lack of investment.

"Our model has been developed with satellite data so that it can be used [globally] in remote and topographically complex regions. Most previous landslide studies have been at a local or regional scale," AghaKouchak adds...

Mailboxes in a mudflow, shot by the US Postal Service

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