Integration of a limit-equilibrium model into a landslide early warning system

Benni Thiebes*, Rainer Bell, Thomas Glade, Stefan Jäger, Julia Mayer, Malcolm Anderson, Liz Holcombe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Landslides are a significant hazard in many parts of the world and exhibit a high, and often underestimated, damage potential. Deploying landslide early warning systems is one risk management strategy that, amongst others, can be used to protect local communities. In geotechnical applications, slope stability models play an important role in predicting slope behaviour as a result of external influences; however, they are only rarely incorporated into landslide early warning systems. In this study, the physically based slope stability model CHASM (Combined Hydrology and Stability Model) was initially applied to a reactivated landslide in the Swabian Alb to assess stability conditions and was subsequently integrated into a prototype of a semi-automated landslide early warning system. The results of the CHASM application demonstrate that for several potential shear surfaces the Factor of Safety is relatively low, and subsequent rainfall events could cause instability. To integrate and automate CHASM within an early warning system, international geospatial standards were employed to ensure the interoperability of system components and the transferability of the implemented system as a whole. The CHASM algorithm is automatically run as a web processing service, utilising fixed, predetermined input data, and variable input data including hydrological monitoring data and quantitative rainfall forecasts. Once pre-defined modelling or monitoring thresholds are exceeded, a web notification service distributes SMS and email messages to relevant experts, who then determine whether to issue an early warning to local and regional stakeholders, as well as providing appropriate action advice. This study successfully demonstrated the potential of this new approach to landslide early warning. To move from demonstration to active issuance of early warnings demands the future acquisition of high-quality data on mechanical properties and distributed pore water pressure regimes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)859-875
Number of pages17
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2014


  • CHASM (Combined Hydrology and Stability Model)
  • Early warning system
  • Landslide
  • Modelling
  • Physically based
  • Swabian Alb
  • Web notification service
  • Web processing service

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Integration of a limit-equilibrium model into a landslide early warning system'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this