Potential future exposure of European land transport infrastructure to rainfall-induced landslides throughout the 21st century

Matthias Schlögl, Christoph Matulla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the face of climate change, the assessment of land transport infrastructure exposure towards adverse cli-mate events is of major importance for Europe´s economic prosperity and social wellbeing. In this study, a climate index estimating rainfall patterns which trigger landslides in cen-tral Europe is analysed until the end of this century and com-pared to present-day conditions. The analysis of the potential future development of landslide risk is based on an ensem-ble of dynamically downscaled climate projections which are driven by the SRES A1B socio-economic scenario. Result-ing regional-scale climate change projections across central Europe are concatenated with Europe´s road and railway net-work. Results indicate overall increases of landslide occur-rence. While flat terrain at low altitudes exhibits an increase of about 1 more potentially landslide-inducing rainfall pe-riod per year until the end of this century, higher elevated regions are more affected and show increases of up to 14 ad-ditional periods. This general spatial distribution emerges in the near future (2021-2050) but becomes more pronounced in the remote future (2071-2100). Since largest increases are to be found in Alsace, potential impacts of an increas-ing amount of landslides are discussed using the example of a case study covering the Black Forest mountain range in Baden-Württemberg by further enriching the climate in-formation with additional geodata. The findings derived are suitable to support political decision makers and European authorities in transport, freight and logistics by offering de-tailed information on which parts of Europe´s ground trans-port network are at particularly high risk concerning land-slide activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1121-1132
Number of pages12
JournalNatural Hazards and Earth System Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Research Field

  • Former Research Field - Mobility Systems


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