Changes of hydro-meteorological trigger conditions for debris flows in a future alpine climate

Roland Kaitna*, David Prenner, Matt Switanek, Douglas Maraun, Markus Stoffel, Markus Hrachowitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Debris-flow activity is strongly controlled by hydro-meteorological trigger conditions, which are expected to change in a future climate. In this study we connect a regional hydro-meteorological susceptibility model for debris flows with climate projections until 2100 to assess changes of the frequency of critical trigger conditions for different trigger types (long-lasting rainfall, short-duration storm, snow-melt, rain-on-snow) in six regions in the Austrian Alps. We find limited annual changes of the number of days critical for debris-flow initiation when averaged over all regions, but distinct changes when separating between hydro-meteorological trigger types and study region. Changes become more evident at the monthly/seasonal scale, with a general trend of critical debris-flow trigger conditions earlier in the year. The outcomes of this study serve as a basis for the development of adaption strategies for future risk management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number162227
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Climate change
  • Debris-flow initiation
  • Hydrological modeling
  • Trigger conditions

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