Natural Hazards

, Volume 90, Issue 2, pp 921–941 | Cite as

Deriving the rainfall threshold for shallow landslide early warning during tropical cyclones: a case study in northern Philippines

  • Dymphna Nolasco-JavierEmail author
  • Lalit Kumar
Original Paper


Rainfall-induced landslides (RILs) have been a source of social and economic disruption in the mountainous Baguio area in northern Philippines. Prolonged heavy rainfall usually happens during tropical cyclone and southwest monsoon activity. A pragmatic approach to RIL mitigation is to develop rainfall-based early warning. We implemented a modified regression method to derive the empirical minimum intensity (I)–duration (D) threshold I = 6.46 D −0.28 and a normalized ID threshold NI = 0.002 D −0.28 for rainfall duration ranging between 24 and 264 h. Using a separate data set to evaluate the applicability of the threshold, 93% of the landslide-triggering rainfall events fell above the derived threshold. RILs also occurred when 24-h rainfall was 0.02–28% of the mean annual precipitation or after accumulating at least 500 mm of rainfall from the onset of the rainy season. The thresholds may be further refined as more landslide data become available in the future.


Rainfall threshold Rainfall-induced landslide Intensity–duration Early warning Antecedent rainfall Philippines 



Data for this study were gathered through a research grant from the United Nations World Food Programme and supported by the Department of Physical Sciences, College of Science and the Cordillera Studies Center of the University of the Philippines Baguio. Rainfall data gathering was facilitated by Salvador Olinares of PAGASA Baguio Synoptic Station and Darleen Gela and Victorino Aquitania of International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives-Southeast Asia Secretariat. Fieldwork was assisted by Arlene Mae Tengonciang, Andrei Domogo, Rene Escalante Jr., and Alicia Follosco. Comments from two anonymous reviewers improved the paper.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environmental and Rural ScienceUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia
  2. 2.College of ScienceUniversity of the PhilippinesBaguioPhilippines

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