Environmental Earth Sciences

, 76:596 | Cite as

Characteristics of rainfall responsible for debris flows in Wenchuan Earthquake area

  • Xiaojun Guo
  • Peng Cui
  • Lorenzo Marchi
  • Yonggang GeEmail author
Original Article


The ability to forecast debris flows is important because of their frequent occurrence and potential for large-scale damage in the Wenchuan Earthquake-hit area. Accurate understanding of the characteristics of rainfall responsible for triggering debris flows is necessary for an effective early warning procedure. This study examined the general characteristics and spatiotemporal variation of rainfall events that responsible for debris flows. Analysis was performed on rainfall data extracted during 2008–2013. The results revealed that the rainfall thresholds for debris flows varied annually and showed tendency toward higher conditions required. The coefficient of variation of relevant rainfall events indicated that the characteristics of the rainstorms changed. In addition, the coefficient of deviation revealed the spatial variation of rainfall in subregions, which was attributed to differences of the local climatic conditions that control debris flow occurrence. The primary controlling rainfall indices for triggering debris flows were filtered, and the most suitable models for establishing rainfall thresholds were selected. Ultimately, the rainfall thresholds were obtained for each subregion within the study area.


Debris flows Inducing rainfall Triggering rainfall intensity Rainfall thresholds Wenchuan Earthquake area 



This research was supported by the Key International S&T Cooperation Project (Grant No. 2016YFE0122400), and key Scientific Project of Sichuan Department of land and resources (KJ-2015-18).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaojun Guo
    • 1
  • Peng Cui
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lorenzo Marchi
    • 3
  • Yonggang Ge
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Mountain Surface Process and Hazards/Institute of Mountain Hazards and EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesChengduChina
  2. 2.Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.CNR IRPIPaduaItaly

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