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Title: A new method to detect changes in displacement rates of slow-moving landslides using InSAR time series

Slow-moving landslides move downslope at velocities that range from mm year−1to m year−1. Such deformations can be measured using satellite-based synthetic aperture radar interferometry (InSAR). We developed a new method to systematically detect and quantify accelerations and decelerations of slowly deforming areas using InSAR displacement time series. The displacement time series are filtered using an outlier detector and subsequently piecewise linear functions are fitted to identify changes in the displacement rate (i.e., accelerations or decelerations). Grouped accelerations and decelerations are inventoried as indicators of potential unstable areas. We tested and refined our new method using a high-quality dataset from the Mud Creek landslide, CA, USA. Our method detects accelerations and decelerations that coincide with those previously detected by manual examination. Second, we tested our method in the region around the Mazar dam and reservoir in Southeast Ecuador, where the time series data were of considerably lower quality. We detected accelerations and decelerations occurring during the entire study period near and upslope of the reservoir. Application of our method results in a wealth of information on the dynamics of the surface displacement of hillslopes and provides an objective way to identify changes in displacement rates. The displacement rates, their spatial variation, and the timing of accelerations and decelerations can be used to study the physical behavior of a slow-moving slope or for regional hazard assessment by linking the timing of changes in displacement rates to landslide causal and triggering factors.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Springer Science + Business Media
Date Published:
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Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 2233-2247
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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    Please refer to the manuscript and its supplemental materials for full details. (A link will be appended following publication)

    File formatting information is listed below, followed by a sub-section of the text describing the Geodetic Drought Index Calculation.

    The longitude, latitude, and label for grid points are provided in the file "loading_grid_lon_lat".

    Time series for each Geodetic Drought Index (GDI) time scale are provided within "".

    The included time scales are for 00- (daily), 1-, 3-, 6-, 12- 18- 24-, 36-, and 48-month GDI solutions.

    Files are formatted following...

    Title: "grid point label L****"_"time scale"_month

    File Format: ["decimal date" "GDI value"]

    Gridded, epoch-by-epoch, solutions for each time scale are provided within "".

    Files are formatted following...

    Title: GDI_"decimal date"_"time scale"_month

    File Format: ["longitude" "latitude" "GDI value" "grid point label L****"]


    We develop the GDI following Vicente-Serrano et al. (2010) and Tang et al. (2023), such that the GDI mimics the derivation of the SPEI, and utilize the log-logistic distribution (further details below). While we apply hydrologic load estimates derived from GPS displacements as the input for this GDI (Figure 1a-d), we note that alternate geodetic drought indices could be derived using other types of geodetic observations, such as InSAR, gravity, strain, or a combination thereof. Therefore, the GDI is a generalizable drought index framework.

    A key benefit of the SPEI is that it is a multi-scale index, allowing the identification of droughts which occur across different time scales. For example, flash droughts (Otkin et al., 2018), which may develop over the period of a few weeks, and persistent droughts (>18 months), may not be observed or fully quantified in a uni-scale drought index framework. However, by adopting a multi-scale approach these signals can be better identified (Vicente-Serrano et al., 2010). Similarly, in the case of this GPS-based GDI, hydrologic drought signals are expected to develop at time scales that are both characteristic to the drought, as well as the source of the load variation (i.e., groundwater versus surface water and their respective drainage basin/aquifer characteristics). Thus, to test a range of time scales, the TWS time series are summarized with a retrospective rolling average window of D (daily with no averaging), 1, 3, 6, 12, 18, 24, 36, and 48-months width (where one month equals 30.44 days).

    From these time-scale averaged time series, representative compilation window load distributions are identified for each epoch. The compilation window distributions include all dates that range ±15 days from the epoch in question per year. This allows a characterization of the estimated loads for each day relative to all past/future loads near that day, in order to bolster the sample size and provide more robust parametric estimates [similar to Ford et al., (2016)]; this is a key difference between our GDI derivation and that presented by Tang et al. (2023). Figure 1d illustrates the representative distribution for 01 December of each year at the grid cell co-located with GPS station P349 for the daily TWS solution. Here all epochs between between 16 November and 16 December of each year (red dots), are compiled to form the distribution presented in Figure 1e.

    This approach allows inter-annual variability in the phase and amplitude of the signal to be retained (which is largely driven by variation in the hydrologic cycle), while removing the primary annual and semi-annual signals. Solutions converge for compilation windows >±5 days, and show a minor increase in scatter of the GDI time series for windows of ±3-4 days (below which instability becomes more prevalent). To ensure robust characterization of drought characteristics, we opt for an extended ±15-day compilation window. While Tang et al. (2023) found the log-logistic distribution to be unstable and opted for a normal distribution, we find that, by using the extended compiled distribution, the solutions are stable with negligible differences compared to the use of a normal distribution. Thus, to remain aligned with the SPEI solution, we retain the three-parameter log-logistic distribution to characterize the anomalies. Probability weighted moments for the log-logistic distribution are calculated following Singh et al., (1993) and Vicente-Serrano et al., (2010). The individual moments are calculated following Equation 3.

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    *Equations can be found in the main text.

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