Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 13, Issue 9, pp 1527–1543 | Cite as

Outlining a stepwise, multi-parameter debris flow monitoring and warning system: an example of application in Aizi Valley, China

  • Ning-sheng Chen
  • Javed Iqbal Tanoli
  • Gui-sheng HuEmail author
  • Feng-niang Wang
  • Cheng-lin Yang
  • Hai-tao Ding
  • Na He
  • Tao Wang


In recent years, the increasing frequency of debris flow demands enhanced effectiveness and efficiency of warning systems. Effective warning systems are essential not only from an economic point of view but are also considered as a frontline approach to alleviate hazards. Currently, the key issues are the imbalance between the limited lifespan of equipment, the relatively long period between the recurrences of such hazards, and the wide range of critical rainfall that trigger these disasters. This paper attempts to provide a stepwise multi-parameter debris flow warning system after taking into account the shortcomings observed in other warning systems. The whole system is divided into five stages. Different warning levels can be issued based on the critical rainfall thresholds. Monitoring starts when early warning is issued and it continues with debris flow near warning, triggering warning, movement warning and hazard warning stages. For early warning, historical archives of earthquake and drought are used to choose a debris flow-susceptible site for further monitoring. Secondly, weather forecasts provide an alert of possible near warning. Hazardous precipitation, model calculation and debris flow initiation tests, pore pressure sensors and water content sensors are combined to check the critical rainfall and to publically announce a triggering warning. In the final two stages, equipment such as rainfall gauges, flow stage sensors, vibration sensors, low sound sensors and infrasound meters are used to assess movement processes and issue hazard warnings. In addition to these warnings, community-based knowledge and information is also obtained and discussed in detail. The proposed stepwise, multi-parameter debris flow monitoring and warning system has been applied in Aizi valley China which continuously monitors the debris flow activities.


Debris Flow Monitoring system Warning system Aizi Valley Rainfall threshold 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ning-sheng Chen
    • 1
  • Javed Iqbal Tanoli
    • 2
    • 3
  • Gui-sheng Hu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Feng-niang Wang
    • 1
  • Cheng-lin Yang
    • 1
  • Hai-tao Ding
    • 1
  • Na He
    • 1
  • Tao Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Mountain Hazards and EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesChengduChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Earth SciencesCOMSATS Institute of Information TechnologyAbbottabadPakistan

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