Skip to main content

Total water content thresholds for shallow landslides, Outer Western Carpathians


Shallow landslides are fairly frequent natural processes which emerge as a result of both rainfall and rapid snowmelt in the Flysch Belt of the Outer Western Carpathians. We estimated the total water content thresholds for the previously defined seven phases of increased landsliding which took place between 1939 and 2010 around the Napajedla meteorological station. The time series were reconstructed on the basis of data from surrounding stations. Rainfalls with the highest intensities (>1 mm/min) were removed from the set. Rainfall of such an intensity primarily causes overland flow and soil erosion and does not contribute to landslide threshold. The snow water equivalent was computed on the basis of the snow height, and possible errors were evaluated as interval estimations. An interval of 10 days before a landslide phase was selected for the total water content threshold. The resulting lower boundary (67.0 mm/10 days) and upper boundary (163.3 mm/10 days) thresholds of water infiltrated into soil during an event shall be part of the prepared online warning system in this area.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10


  • Aleotti P (2004) A warning system for rainfall-induced shallow failures. Eng Geol 73:247–265

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Alexandersson A (1986) A homogeneity test applied to precipitation data. J Climatol 6:661–675

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Baum RL, Godt JW (2010) Early warning of rainfall-induced shallow landslides and debris flows in the USA. Landslides 7(3):259–272

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bíl M, Müller I (2008) The origin of shallow landslides in Moravia (Czech Republic) in the spring of 2006. Geomorphology 99:246–253

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bíl M, Krejčí O, Bílová M, Kubeček J, Sedoník J, Krejčí V (2014) A chronology of landsliding and its impacts on the village of Halenkovice, Outer Western Carpathians. Geologija 119(4):342–363

    Google Scholar 

  • Cannon SH, Ellen SD (1985) Rainfall conditions for abundant debris avalanches, San Francisco Bay region, California. Calif Geol 38(12):267–272

    Google Scholar 

  • Corominas J (2000) Landslides and climate. Keynote lecture. In: Proceedings 8th International Symposium on Landslides, edited by: Bromhead, E., Dixon, N., and Ibsen, M. L., Cardiff: A.A. Balkema 4:1–33

  • Corominas J, Moya J (1999) Reconstructing recent landslide activity in relation to rainfall in the Llobregat river basin, Eastern Pyrenees, Spain. Geomorphology 30:79–93

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Crosta GB and Frattini P (2001) Rainfall thresholds for triggering soil slips and debris flow, Proc. of the 2nd EGS Plinius Conference on Mediterranean Storms: Publication CNR GNDCI 2547:463–487

  • Déqué M et al (2007) An intercomparison of regional climate simulations for Europe: assessing uncertainties in model projections. Climate Chang 81(Suppl. 1):53–70. doi:10.007/s10584-006-9228-x

  • Gil E, Dlugosz M (2006) Threshold values of rainfalls triggering selected deep-seated landslides in the Polish flysch Carpathians. Stud Geomorphol Carpatho-Balc XI:21–43

    Google Scholar 

  • Gil E, Starkel L (1979) Long-term extreme rainfalls and their role in the modelling of flysch slopes. Stud Geomorphol Carpatho-Balc 13:207–219

    Google Scholar 

  • Glade T, Crozier M, Smith P (2000) Applying probability determination to refine landslide-triggering rainfall thresholds using an empirical “antecedent daily rainfall model”. Pure Appl Geophys 157:1059–1079

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Govi M, Sorzana PF (1980) Landslide susceptibility as a function of critical rainfall amount in Piedmont basin (North-Western Italy). Stud Geomorphol Carpatho-Balc 14:43–61

    Google Scholar 

  • Guzzetti F, Crosta G, Marchetti M, Reichenbach P (1992) Debris flows triggered by the July, 17 – 19, 1987 storm in the Valtellina Area (Northern Italy). Proc. of the VII International Congress Interpraevent 1992, Bern, vol. 2, pp. 193–204

  • Guzzetti F, Peruccacci S, Rossi M, Stark CP (2007) Rainfall thresholds for the initiation of landslides in central and southern Europe. Meteorog Atmos Phys 98:239–267

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jonas T, Marty C, Magnusson J (2009) Estimating the snow water equivalent from snow depth measurements in the Swiss Alps. J Hydrol 378:161–167

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kirchner K, Krejčí O, Máčka Z, Bíl M (2000) Slope deformations in the eastern Moravia, Vsetín District (Outer West Carpathians). Acta Univ Carol Geol 35:133–143

    Google Scholar 

  • Klimeš J, Blahůt J (2012) Landslide risk analysis and its application in regional planning: an example from the highlands of the Outer Western Carpathians, Czech Republic. Nat Hazards 64:1779–1803

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kopecký M (2000) Influence of climatic and hydrogeologic conditions on the origin of landslides in Slovakia. In: Rybář, Stemberk, Wagner (eds.): Landslides, A. A. Balkema Publishers. Lisse. ISBN 90 5809 393 X, 367–372

  • Köppen W (1936) Das geographische System der Klimate, Handbuch der Klimatologie, herausgegeben von W. Köppen und R. Geiger, Bd. 1, Teil C, Berlin

  • Krejčí O (2014) (Ed.): Geological map of the Czech Republic, Sheet Jablůnka 25–144, Czech Geological Survey

  • Krejčí O, Baroň I, Bíl M, Jurová Z, Bárta J, Hubatka F, Kašpárek M, Kirchner K, Stach J (2002) Some examples of deep seated landslides in the Flysch Belt of the Western Carpathians. In: Rybář, Stemberk, Wagner (eds.): Landslides, A. A. Balkema Publishers. Lisse. ISBN 90 5809 393 X, 373–380

  • López-Moreno JI, Fassnacht SR, Heath JT, Musselman KN, Revuelto J, Latron J, Morán-Tejeda E, Jonas T (2013) Small scale spatial variability of snow density and depth over complex alpine terrain: Implications for estimating snow water equivalent. Adv Water Resour 55:40–52

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Maronna T, Yohai VJ (1978) A bivariate test for the detection of a systematic change in mean. J Am Stat Assoc 73:640–645

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mayer NK, Dyrrdal AV, Frauenfelder R, Etzelmuller B, Nadim F (2012) Hydrometeorological threshold conditions for debris flow initiation in Norway. Nat Hazards Earth Syst Sci 12(10):3059–3073

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Osanai N, Shimizu T, Kuramoto K, Kojima S, Noro T (2010) Japanese early-warning for debris flows and slope failures using rainfall indices with radial basis function network. Landslides 7:325–338

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pánek T, Brázdil R, Klimeš J, Smolková V, Hhradecký J, Zahradníček P (2011) Rainfall-induced landslide event of May 2010 in the eastern part of the Czech Republic. Landslides 8(4):507–516

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Raczkowski W, Mrozek T (2002) Activating of landsliding in the Polish Flysch Carpathians by the End of the 20th century. Stud Geomorphol Carpatho-Balc 36:91–111

    Google Scholar 

  • Raška P, Klimeš J, Dubišar J (in print) Using local archive sources to reconstruct historical landslide occurrence in selected urban regions of the Czech Republic: Examples from regions with different historical development. Land Degrad. Develop. doi: 10.1002/ldr.2192

  • Špůrek M (1967) Historická analýza působení klimatického sesuvného faktoru v Českém masivu. Dissertation thesis. Manuscript, Archive of the Czech Geological Survey – Geofond

  • Stankoviansky M, Minár J, Barka I, Bonk R, Trizna M (2010) Investigating muddy floods in Slovakia. Land Degrad Dev 21:336–345

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Starkel L (2002) Change in the frequency of extreme events as the indicator of climatic change in the Holocene (in fluvial systems). Quat Int 91:25–32

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Štěpánek P, Zahradníček P, Brázdil R, Tolasz R (2011) Metodologie kontroly a homogenizace časových řad v klimatologii. ČHMÚ Praha

  • Štěpánek P, Zahradníček P, Huth R (2011) Interpolation techniques used for data quality control and calculation of technical series: an example of Central European daily time series. Idöjárás 115(1–2):87–98

    Google Scholar 

  • Štepánek P, Zahradnícek P, Farda A (2013) Experiences with homogenization of daily records of various meteorological elements in the Czech Republic. Idojaros 117:123–141

  • Sturm M, Taras B, Liston GE, Derksen C, Jonas T, Lea J (2010) Estimating snow water equivalent using snow depth data and climate classes. J Hydrometeorol 11:1380–1394

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wieczorek GF and Glade T (2005) Climatic factors influencing occurrence of debris flows, in “Debris flow hazards and related phenomena”, edited by: Jakob M and Hungr O Berlin Heidelberg, Springer, 325–362

Download references


This paper was prepared with the help of a project undertaken by the Transport Research Centre (OP R&D for Innovation no. CZ.1.05/2.1.00/03.0064). Pavel Zahradníček was supported by the project “Hydrometeorological Extremes in Southern Moravia Derived from Documentary Evidence” (Czech Science Foundation, no. 13-19831S). Petr Štěpánek was supported by the project “Establishment of International Scientific Team Focused on Drought Research” (no. OP VKCZ.1.07/2.3.00/20.0248). We would further like to thank Jan Šikula from the Czech Geological Survey for the information about the overall number of landslides. We also highly appreciate the help and suggestion of the two anonymous reviewers. Any errors are solely the responsibility of the authors.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Michal Bíl.



An outline of the identified landslide phases.

  • 1939 and 1941—Mentioned by Špůrek M (1967) and recorded in chronicles of several villages from the area. As was already mentioned by Bíl et al. (2014), these phases were insufficiently documented because they occurred during World War Two.

  • 1965—The spring and summer of this year were exceptional because of the long-lasting raining with low intensities. It is possible to read in the local chronicles about numerous days with continuous raining, e.g.,: “… it rained persistently without a break 15 days in April, then all May, June and more than half of July. Even the oldest eyewitnesses, and there are a lot of them, do not remember such bad weather in this part of the year…” (Chronicle of the village of Spytihněv).

  • 1970—This was a local phase which, in all probability, took place around the Napajedla station. The chronicles and accounts of eyewitnesses relate that it was an extreme winter with thick snow cover, which stayed until the middle of March and then disappeared relatively rapidly. Only four landslides were identified, but the circumstances allowed us to delimit this event as a landslide phase.

  • 1997—Krejčí et al. (2002) described the extreme conditions which caused the 1997 landslide phase and its impacts. Approximately 262 mm fell at the rainfall station Hošťálková, 375 mm at the town of Valašské Meziříčí and 228 mm near the town of Vsetín between 4 and 8 July 1997. The whole of July recorded about 70 % of the long-term annual sum. These values were more than four times higher than the average rainfall recorded in July. Over 1500 landslides were recorded in July 1997 (Krejčí et al. 2002). This phase had a large regional extent and also hit Slovakia and Poland (Raczkowski and Mrozek 2002).

  • 2006—The thick snow cover stayed until the end of March 2006 when higher air temperatures and heavy rainfall appeared. The first significant rain (>10 mm/day) fell on March 26, which was followed on March 28–29 by 35 mm of rainfall. The consequence was major flooding throughout the CZ and more than 90 landslides in Moravia (Bíl and Müller 2008).

  • 2010—Another landslide phase took place in the area of the OWC in May 2010. The landslides were triggered solely by rainfalls at that time (Pánek et al. 2011).

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Bíl, M., Andrášik, R., Zahradníček, P. et al. Total water content thresholds for shallow landslides, Outer Western Carpathians. Landslides 13, 337–347 (2016).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Landslides
  • Threshold
  • Snowmelt
  • Time series
  • Antecedent rainfall
  • Outer Western Carpathians