nat hazardsThomas Zieher from the section of Remote Sensing and Geomatics at IGF and his colleagues from the Austrian Research and Training Centre for Forests, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, and the University of Innsbruck published their new findings about physically-based modelling of shallow landslides in the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS). The journal is an interactive open access journal, where the article is currently under discussion.

Zieher, T., Rutzinger, M., Schneider-Muntau, B., Perzl, F., Leidinger, D., Formayer, H., and Geitner, C.: Sensitivity analysis and calibration of a dynamic physically-based slope stability model, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/nhess-2017-73, in review, 2017.


Physically-based modelling of slope stability at catchment scale is still a challenging task. Applying a physically-based model at such scale (1 : 10,000 to 1 : 50,000), parameters with a high impact on the model result should be calibrated to account for (i) the spatial variability of parameter values, (ii) shortcomings of the selected model, (iii) uncertainties of laboratory tests and field measurements or (iv) if parameters cannot be derived experimentally or measured in the field (e.g. calibration constants). While systematic parameter calibration is a common task in hydrological modelling, this is rarely done using physically-based slope stability models. In the present study a dynamic physically-based coupled hydrological/geomechanical slope stability model is calibrated based on a limited number of laboratory tests and a detailed multi-temporal shallow landslide inventory covering two landslide-triggering rainfall events in the Laternser valley, Vorarlberg (Austria). Sensitive parameters are identified based on a local one-at-a-time sensitivity analysis. These parameters (hydraulic conductivity, specific storage, effective angle of internal friction, effective cohesion) are systematically sampled and calibrated for a landslide-triggering rainfall event in August 2005. The identified model ensemble including 25 behavioural model runs with the highest portion of correctly predicted landslides and non-landslides is then validated with another landslide-triggering rainfall event in May 1999. The identified model ensemble correctly predicts the location and the supposed triggering timing of 73.5 % of the observed landslides triggered in August 2005 and 91.5 % of the observed landslides triggered in May 1999. Results of the model ensemble driven with raised precipitation input reveal a slight increase in areas potentially affected by slope failure. At the same time, the peak runoff increases more markedly, suggesting that precipitation intensities during the investigated landslide-triggering rainfall events were already close to or above the soil's infiltration capacity.

Check out our new issues - January 2017 and a special issue co-edited by Hubert Job

eco si

Issue 9/special issue (January 2017)

Valerie Braun, Martin Coy, Günter Köck, Brigitte Scott, Hubert Job (eds.)








eco 17

Issue 9/1 (January 2017)

Valerie Braun, Martin Coy, Günter Köck, Brigitte Scott (eds.)







Institute for Interdisciplinary Mountain Research became one of the Copernicus Academic Network founding members


The section on Remote Sensing and Geomatics (Institute for Interdisciplinary Mountain Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences), headed by Martin Rutzinger, has been approved as official member of the Copernicus Academic Network. Data provided by the Copernicus Programme are an essential input for many research activities in mountain regions. However, the specific topography and the seasonality still pose plenty of challenges for the automated analysis of satellite remote sensing data and require further research. The team of Remote Sensing and Geomatics at IGF-ÖAW, in their teaching activities, dissemination and transformation efforts in their research projects, helps to enhance the applicability of mapping and monitoring of mountain phenomena. Scientific applications range from natural hazard monitoring to land cover and land use change quantification and resources management.



New Article in the Journal of Hydrology

Journal of Hydrology

Thomas Zieher, Junior Researcher at the IGF, and his colleagues have published new results from their work on shallow landsliding in the Journal of Hydrology. Physically-based dynamic modelling of shallow landslide susceptibility rests on several assumptions and simplifications. However, the applicability of physically-based models is only rarely tested in the field at the appropriate scale. The paper presents results of a spray irrigation experiment conducted on a plot of 100 m² on an Alpine slope susceptible to shallow landsliding.


Zieher, T., Markart, G., Ottowitz, D., Römer, A., Rutzinger, M., Meißl, G., Geitner, C.: Water content dynamics at plot scale - comparison of time-lapse electrical resistivity tomography monitoring and pore pressure modelling. Journal of Hydrology (2016), doi:


Neuerscheinung Gebhard Bendler: Wilder Kaiser

Gebhard Bendler, Geschichtswissenschafter am Institut für Interdiziplinäre Gebirgsforschung der ÖAW in Innsbruck hat ein neues Buch veröffentlicht: 

Wilder Kaiser. Von Sommerfrischlern, Kletterlegenden, Skipionieren und dem Bergdoktor. 200 Jahre Alpingeschichte und Reisekultur.

Bendler 2016 WilderKaiserBendler Gebi

Foto von G. Bendler: © Jennifer Auinger


Am 07.12.2016 um 19:00 Uhr im Stanglwirt in Going. IGF-Direktor Axel Borsdorf wird in den Abend einführen, Gebhard Bendler sein Buch vorstellen und lokale Touristiker werden die Bedeutung der Region in Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft diskutieren.

Am 09.12.2016 um 18:00 Uhr im AUT in Innsbruck. Anlässlich des Tags der Berge am 11.12. wird Kurt Scharr, ehemaliger Mitarbeiter am IGF, die Einführung übernehmen, bevor nach der Präsentation durch Gebhard Bendler eine Podiumsdiskussion folgt.

Herzliche Einladung!


Titel: Wilder Kaiser. Von Sommerfrischlern, Kletterlegenden, Skipionieren und dem Bergdoktor. 200 Jahre Alpingeschichte und Reisekultur
Autor: Bendler, Gebhard
Preis: EUR 36,00
Verlag: Tyrolia Verlagsanstalt
ISBN: 978-3-7022-3547-5 (3-7022-3547-7)
Neuerscheinung: November 2016
Preis: € 36,00
Beschreibung: Das mit zahlreichen Abbildungen versehene Buch stellt die Geschichte der touristischen Entdeckung der Region Wilder Kaiser dar und spannt dabei einen weiten Bogen von der aufkommenden Alpenbegeisterung im 19. Jahrhundert bis in die Gegenwart. Es erzählt von der wissenschaftlichen Entdeckung des Kaisergebirges ebenso wie von der packenden Klettergeschichte, von visionären Persönlichkeiten wie Carl Thurwieser oder Matthäus Hörfarter, die die Entwicklung der Gegend entscheidend prägten, wie von den Pionieren des Skisports; von Sommerfrischlern und Bergvagabunden, von Hüttenwirten, Bergführern, Gastwirtinnen und schließlich von Regisseuren und Filmstars - kurzum von Menschen und Entwicklungen, die die Gegend um den Wilder Kaiser zu dem gemacht haben, was sie heute ist: eine Region mit hervorragender Lebensqualität und internationalem Renommee.



We want to draw your attention to the session Close-Range Sensing of Environment at EGU 2017. We will be happy to receive your contribution and to meet you in Vienna next year.

Convener: Martin Rutzinger 
Co-Conveners: Roderik Lindenbergh, Marco Scaioni, Francesco Pirotti, Bernhard Höfle

Close-range sensing including 2D and 3D imaging and laser scan techniques is one of the most dynamically developing methods for data acquisition in the field of Geoscience. It extents the radius of operation, scale, and enhances traditional measurement techniques in terms of radiometric, spectral, spatial and time resolution. New developments in sensor technology and platforms enable for example dynamic i.e. kinematic sensing and autonomous mapping by means of robotics. Further advances in close-range sensing arise by enhancement of field and reference data collection procedures, integration of measurements from ancillary sources such as geo-sensor networks and cooperative sensor systems, and bridging the gap between ground control measurements and airborne and satellite remote sensing. Increasing availability of mobile and portable close-range sensors lead to the phenomenon of crowd-sensing. Recent achievements on algorithms for automation of data capture and processing stimulate new research questions in the field of geo-environmental research. Close-range sensing helps for better understanding of geo-environmental processes, their triggers, spatial extent and changes over time. Submissions are requested for geospherical and biospherical research integrating close-range sensing with processes in the cryosphere, geomorphology, vegetation phenology, vegetation-geomorphology interaction, and biodiversity.

The abstract submission deadline is 11 Jan 2017, 13:00 CET.