|Re-review of NHESS manuscript submitted by Mergili et al., Back-calculation of the 2017 Piz Cengalo-Bondo landslide cascade with r.avaflow|
The manuscript has been substantially improved from the last version. It describes the difficulties in modelling the Piz Cengalo-Bondo mass movement event cascade. I still have a few questions about the manuscript that I think should be considered before publication. I still think that the manuscript will be of interest to the readers of NHESS.
Lines 75-79: I’m not sure what the policy of NHESS is regarding repetition and word count, but lines 75—79 don’t really add much to what has already been written in the previous page and therefore could be omitted. Instead, I would prefer more test to explain some novel aspects of your model, e.g. the nature of the coupling between the phases (another comment on that below).
Line 134: What is MNS? I presume that it’s the French-language abbreviation of the English term DSM? Most readers won’t be familiar with the French abbreviation. Additionally, why did you use the surface model from Swisstopo instead of the terrain model? The surface model would also include vegetation, so using a surface model from 2011 would have included about 6 years of vegetation growth for areas not modified by the 2011 event, and vegetation removed by the 2017 event would lead to systematic errors in your mass balance. Many trees which survived the 2011 rock avalanche were destroyed by the 2017 event, so this could easily lead to errors. I presume that this has been accounted for by the authors, however it may not be clear to readers.
Section 3: Please include more details on how the fluid and solid phases are coupled. You gave carefully-worded explanations in the response to the reviews, and it would certainly be interesting for the reader to see the details of how the phases are coupled—even if only in plain text without equations. When looking at the video of the rock avalanche event and the videos of the various debris-flow surges in the village of Bondo, it is clear that phase separation is important, and this manuscript would be incomplete without at least some description of the coupling, as well as some description of the difference in travel speed of the two phases.
Line 238 ff: The model has been tuned by adjusting the coefficients in six different regions of the runout zone. This strongly suggests that the model cannot be used for prediction without calibration. To help the reader understand how important the parameter tuning exercise is for applying the model, perhaps you could compare the results with results calibrated based only on an inspection of the aerial photographs, maps, and other materials prior to the 2017 event.
Section 5.1: Are the statistical metrics CSI and D2PC from Formetta et al., 2015? I haven’t heard of these metrics before, or perhaps not with these names. This section is a bit confusing to read because the meaning of the statistical metrics and critical values of those parameters is only roughly explained.
Line 283: What is the justification of using a fluid with a density of 1400 kg m^-3? Is this an empirical value or based on some physical assumptions? This value seems to be quite large, and appears to have been arbitrarily defined. It is large enough that your solid concentrations will consequently appear to be quite small.
Line 328: Please explain what you mean by “leaks” or re-write the sentence to more clearly explain the effect.
Line 357 & 358. Please remove the sentence about this model being considered “best practice.” Given only one case study, with all of the tuning that went into reproducing the observations, and the other limitations described in the preceding paragraphs, this statement cannot be really taken seriously.
Line 362: Given what I’ve read of the Iverson & George model, it appears to also be useful for geophysical flows that would be comparable to the ones that you describe in the paper. I think that this statement in the paper is incorrect. I encourage you to focus on the advantages of your own model instead of highlighting possibly fictitious disadvantages of other models.
Line 400: The sediment leaving the area was of major interest to the communities downstream. This is part of the process cascade that would be relevant for hazard managers. If your model is capable of describing sediment transport (suspended and bedlam), then you may want to highlight that here but state that you did not focus on that aspect of the work.
Conclusions: This section is difficult to read: you may also want to include some more information about the case that you modelled in the paper and why: the conclusions should also contain a concise summary of the problem, the methods, results, and major discussions points.
Table 1, Zone c: The exponent on the CE parameter is typeset as “-8-0”. Is this a typo?