Articles | Volume 22, issue 12
Brief communication
16 Dec 2022
Brief communication |  | 16 Dec 2022

Brief communication: An autonomous UAV for catchment-wide monitoring of a debris flow torrent

Fabian Walter, Elias Hodel, Erik S. Mannerfelt, Kristen Cook, Michael Dietze, Livia Estermann, Michaela Wenner, Daniel Farinotti, Martin Fengler, Lukas Hammerschmidt, Flavia Hänsli, Jacob Hirschberg, Brian McArdell, and Peter Molnar

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Cited articles

Badoux, A., Graf, C., Rhyner, J., Kuntner, R., and McArdell, B. W.: A debris-flow alarm system for the Alpine Illgraben catchment: design and performance, Nat. Hazards, 49, 517–539, 2009. a, b, c, d, e
Bennett, G., Molnar, P., McArdell, B., and Burlando, P.: A probabilistic sediment cascade model of sediment transfer in the Illgraben, Water Resour. Res., 50, 1225–1244, 2014. a
Bennett, G. L., Molnar, P., McArdell, B. W., Schlunegger, F., and Burlando, P.: Patterns and controls of sediment production, transfer and yield in the Illgraben, Geomorphology, 188, 68–82,, 2013. a, b, c
Berger, C., McArdell, B. W., and Schlunegger, F.: Sediment transfer patterns at the Illgraben catchment, Switzerland: Implications for the time scales of debris flow activities, Geomorphology, 125, 421–432, 2011. a, b, c
Bonneau, D., Hutchinson, D. J., McDougall, S., DiFrancesco, P.-M., and Evans, T.: Debris-Flow Channel Headwater Dynamics: Examining Channel Recharge Cycles With Terrestrial Laser Scanning, Front. Earth Sci., 10, 883259,, 2022. a
Short summary
Debris flows are dangerous sediment–water mixtures in steep terrain. Their formation takes place in poorly accessible terrain where instrumentation cannot be installed. Here we propose to monitor such source terrain with an autonomous drone for mapping sediments which were left behind by debris flows or may contribute to future events. Short flight intervals elucidate changes of such sediments, providing important information for landscape evolution and the likelihood of future debris flows.
Final-revised paper