Climate change can trigger more landslides in the High Mountain Asia, More frequent and intense rainfall events can cause more landslides Similar to the Asian highlands in China, Tibet and Nepal, according to the first quantitative research on the relationship between rainfall and landslides in the region.
High mountains in Asia store more fresh water in their snow and glaciers from around the world outside the poles, and more than one billion people depend on them for drinking and watering. The research team used satellite estimates and modeled rainfall data to determine how changes in rainfall patterns in the region can affect the frequency of landslides. Climate change can trigger more landslides in the High Mountain Asia.
The study team found that warming temperatures in some areas could result in higher rainfall and increased landslides in the China-Nepal border region.
Most landslides in this region, especially in areas currently covered by glaciers and glacier lakes, can cause secondary disasters, such as landslides and floods, which affect downstream areas, sometimes hundreds of kilometers away, studies show.
The height of Asia stretches more than tens of thousands of miles covered by glaciers from the Himalayas in the east to the Hindu mountains of Kush and Tian Shan in the west.
As the Earth’s climate warms, the water cycle in the Asian highlands changes, including shifting patterns in the rainy season and annual rainfall.
Heavy rain, similar to the type that falls during the rainy season from June to September, can cause landslides on steep terrain and disasters ranging from the destruction of cities to disruptions to drinking water and transportation networks. Climate change can trigger more landslides in the High Mountain Asia.
In the summer of 2019, monsoons and landslides flooded more than 7 million people in Nepal, India and Bangladesh. To predict how climate change can affect landslides, researchers need to know what future rain events will look like.
So far, surveys that make landslide forecasts have been based on previous landslide records or current models for estimating rainfall.
Other studies have looked at it locally or have adjusted rainfall signals in general, researchers say.
Our aim is to show how we can combine future global patterns of rainfall with our landslide model to provide quantitative estimates of possible landslide changes in the region.
The research team used NASA models that produce “power transmissions” that estimate potential landslide activity triggered by almost real-time rainfall. The model called Situational Awareness Landslide Disaster Assessment (LHASA) assesses hazards by evaluating road information. Climate change can trigger more landslides in the High Mountain Asia.
They found that extreme rain could occur more often in the future when the climate warms up, and in some of these areas it could cause more landslides.
Most importantly, landslide activity in the border region between China and Nepal increased by 30-70%.
The border region is currently not densely populated, Kirschbaum said, but partly covered by glaciers and glacier lakes.
The combined effects of more heavy rains and warm environments can affect the delicate structure of these lakes, triggering lightning floods and causing floods, damage to infrastructure, and loss of water resources.
The full human impact on increased risk of landslides depends on how climate change affects glaciers and how people and communities change.
When evaluating their model predictions in the context of five potential population scenarios, the team found that apart from that scenario, most of the population in the region would be more likely to experience more landslides in the future, but only a small portion would be exposed to increased landslide activity . 20% Climate change can trigger more landslides in the High Mountain Asia.
This study identifies new research opportunities that can help decision makers prepare for future disasters both in the Asian highlands and in other regions.
We hope to expand our research to other regions of the world with similar landslide risks, including Alaska and Appalachia in the United States.
Researchers say: We have developed methods to find out how to work together in certain regions, and now we want to explore the United States to find out what the dangers are now and in the future.