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Rainfall control of debris-flow triggering in the Réal Torrent, Southern French Prealps

Abstract : This paper investigates the occurrence of debris flow due to rainfall forcing in the Réal Torrent, a very active debris flow-prone catchment in the Southern French Prealps. The study is supported by a 4-year record of flow responses and rainfall events, from three high-frequency monitoring stations equipped with geophones, flow stage sensors, digital cameras, and rain gauges measuring rainfall at 5-min intervals. The classic method of rainfall intensity–duration (ID) threshold was used, and a specific emphasis was placed on the objective identification of rainfall events, as well as on the discrimination of flow responses observed above the ID threshold. The results show that parameters used to identify rainfall events significantly affect the ID threshold and are likely to explain part of the threshold variability reported in the literature. This is especially the case regarding the minimum duration of rain interruption (MDRI) between two distinct rainfall events. In the Réal Torrent, a 3-h MDRI appears to be representative of the local rainfall regime. A systematic increase in the ID threshold with drainage area was also observed from the comparison of the three stations, as well as from the compilation of data from experimental debris-flow catchments. A logistic regression used to separate flow responses above the ID threshold, revealed that the best predictors are the 5-min maximum rainfall intensity, the 48-h antecedent rainfall, the rainfall amount and the number of days elapsed since the end of winter (used as a proxy of sediment supply). This emphasizes the critical role played by short intense rainfall sequences that are only detectable using high time-resolution rainfall records. It also highlights the significant influence of antecedent conditions and the seasonal fluctuations of sediment supply.
Mots-clés : REAL TORRENT
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Submitted on : Thursday, March 28, 2019 - 9:27:16 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 7, 2021 - 3:54:52 PM



Coraline Bel, Frédéric Liébault, Oldrich Navratil, Nicolas Eckert, Hervé Bel, et al.. Rainfall control of debris-flow triggering in the Réal Torrent, Southern French Prealps. Geomorphology, Elsevier, 2017, 291, pp.17-32. ⟨10.1016/j.geomorph.2016.04.004⟩. ⟨halshs-02083308⟩



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