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NASA’s Special Computer Model Could Detect Landslide Every 30 Minutes

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A landslide has always been a destructive phenomenon. Though there are several technologies to detect landslides, most are not effective in exactly detecting their time and place. But detecting landslides will become easier now because NASA has designed a special computer model to detect the time and place of landslides around the globe in near-real time. Hence landslides will become a little more predictable now.

NASA LandslideThis new NASA landslide detection computer model will detect landslide hazards every 30 minutes around the world to identify where and when landslides can occur so that precautions can be taken. This is known as the Landslide Hazard Assessment model for Situational Awareness (LHASA), which uses surface susceptibility (including slope, vegetation, road networks, geology, and forest cover loss) and satellite rainfall data from the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission to provide moderate to high “nowcasts.”

According to the study led by author Dalia Kirschbaum, a landslide expert at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, “Landslides can cause widespread destruction and fatalities, but we really don’t have a complete sense of where and when landslides may be happening to inform disaster response and mitigation. This model helps pinpoint the time, location and severity of potential landslide hazards in near real-time all over the globe.” This is claimed that nothing of this sort has ever happened before.

Since heavy and sustained rainfall is the key reason for landslides all around the globe, Kirschbaum and co-author Thomas Stanley, landslide expert with the Universities Space Research Association at NASA Goddard, built the new model using rainfall data gathered by the Global Precipitation Measurement satellite mission, which is run by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency jointly.

The model has been able to help us understand immediate potential landslide hazards in a matter of minutes. It also can be used to retroactively look at how potential landslide activity varies on the global scale seasonally, annually or even on decadal scales in a way that hasn’t been possible before. – Stanley

With the NASA landslide detection model using the “susceptibility map” to determine the areas getting hammered by rain, the identification of landslide-prone areas will be easier – for example, if they are on or near steep slopes or tectonic-plate boundaries or have undergone deforestation. Thus the high-risk areas are identified in “nowcasts” and could be identified in every 30 minutes.

There are many causes of landslides, like- storms, tectonic plate movements, gravity downward pull, deforestation, unstable land, and freezing of ground. But rainfall is the most common factor to cause a landslide. But now this special computer model designed by NASA will be an immense help to detect landslide.


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