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It is clear that there has been a remarkable increase in the description of rockfall danger over the period, and that most of this has occurred in the last three decades. Whilst an aspect of this could be a increased sensitivity to risk. Temme (2015) is clear that the major factor is increased rockfall activity. In the analysis he also looked at the correlation of this increased rockfall risk with various physical factors, and found that there was a strong relationship with slope aspect. This is consistent with increased rockfall activity occurring on slopes with an eastern or western aspect, where the freeze-thaw effect is known to be strongest.
The trend is clearly upwards over time, sharply so in terms of the number of landslides from about 2009 onwards, with a significant increase in losses as well. This was not clear in my global data, and we did not see this trend in Latin America either, so this is a very interesting result. Haque et al. (2016) suggest that the increase is primarily the result of large numbers of fatal landslides in Italy and Turkey (see the red triangles on the map above) and in the Balkan countries. The cause of this change is not clear, but the authors note that most of these landslides occurred in mountain regions with a humid temperate climate. This hints at a possible role of climate change.
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