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Geomorphic Effects of the Extreme Rainfall Event of 20–21 July, 2004 in the Latnjavagge Catchment, Northern Swedish Lapland

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Abstract

Mass transfers triggered by a rare rainfall event on 20–21 July, 2004, with 58.4 mm of rain within 24 h and 71.7 mm of rain within 48 h in the Latnjavagge catchment (9 km2 , 950–1440 m a.s.l.; 68°20'N, 18°30'E) in the higher Abisko mountain region (Swedish Lapland), are quantified and analysed in direct comparison with mean annual mass transfers in this drainage basin. In years without rare rainfall events the Latnjavagge catchment is characterized by restricted sediment availability resulting in low mechanical denudation and mass transfers. During the rare rainfall event of 20–21 July, 2004, major stability thresholds on the slope systems (triggering debris flows and slides) and in the channel systems (break-up of channel debris pavements and step–pool systems) in the Latnjavagge catchment were passed and mass transfers by debris flows, slides and fluvial debris transport in creeks and channels were several times higher than the mean annual mass transfers in Latnjavagge. In the calculation of longer-term mass transfers and sediment budgets, rare events like the 20–21 July, 2004 rainfall event have to be considered as essential components. A reliable estimation of the recurrence intervals of such rare events is especially problematic. The general problem of defining an adequate length of process monitoring programmes is pointed out.
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Keywords: arctic; mass transfers; rare rainfall event; recurrence interval; sediment budget

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Geological Survey of Norway, Trondheim, Norway 2: Botanical Institute, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

Publication date: 2005-10-01

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