Almenn verkefni 2021

Heiti verkefnis : 

Notkun fjarkönnunargagna til að ákvarða þröskulda fyrir skriðuhættu á Íslandi

Verkefnastjóri : 


Stutt lýsing á verkefninu:


The Icelandic Met office (IMO) monitors natural hazards (water, earth and atmosphere) in order to assess and communicate possible risks. With our warming climate, glaciers are receeding, permafrost is melting, grounds are frozen for shorter periods of time during wintertime and the rainfall season extends into the winter. Mountain slopes are adjusting to the changing conditions which affects landslide events. As the recent event in December 2020 at Seyðisfjörður shows, landslides can be particularly destructive and disruptive, leading to material destruction of houses and essential infrastructure, while also forcing the displacement of people, even though lives are preserved. In order to mitigate the risks of landslides, it is essential to have advanced warnings of possible slope movements.

One of the main variables that control landslide risk for a given site are precipitation and soil moisture. IMO has good information on the meteorological conditions (past, present, future) thanks to an array of weather stations and computations from the Harmonie weather model, however limited information is available on dynamically changing soil moisture content. Earth observations from satellites are ever improving and products are being developed and released as open data allowing to follow the state of soil moisture content and snow cover on a daily to subdaily basis. In Iceland, these new resources are used presently in flood and landslide research projects, however they are not yet used operationally for hazard in the monitoring of risks.

This research will explore the new opportunities provided by satellite products for the development of an early warning systems for natural hazards. The concept will be tested on a few past landslide events from the East of Iceland and evaluate if these past events could have been fore-warned using the developed tool it would have supported efficiently the monitoring of the events, with regards to timing and location.

Tilgangur og markmið:


The Icelandic Met Office and the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration (IRCA) have been working in close collaboration over the years to monitor hazards that can affect or damage the road infrastructures in Iceland. This project aims at developing new tools that will ultimately improve the services of IMO to Icelandic authorities such as IRCA.

This research is intended to be the starting point of a larger project: developing an early warning system for natural hazards (landslides, flash floods, snow avalanches and ice jams) to help the Icelandic authorities to monitor, detect and mitigate hazardous events. In this study, we will more specifically explore the use of the soil moisture content satellite products delivered by EUMETSAT for the support of an early warning system of landslides triggered by excess water and by doing so evaluate the feasibility of an operational early warning system supported by remote sensing data.

The focus will be set on three major questions:

1. Can soil moisture content products from EUMETSAT be used to improve the definition of thresholds for landslide events in Iceland?

2. Are the satellite products frequent enough to help with short to medium term advance warning prior to an event?

3. If this methodology is successful at a local level, can this methodology be translated and used operationally in an early warning system for Iceland?