Intense rainfall and debris flows in the Lomond Hills, Fife, 11–12 August 2020

Martin Kirkbride (Lead / Corresponding author), Andrew Black, Vanessa Brazier, Ben Pickering

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    Over the night of 11–12th August 2020, unusually intense convective rainfall triggered several debris flows along the Lomond Hills escarpment. Rainfall intensities locally exceeded an estimated 0.33% annual exceedance probability. Each debris flow had a different magnitude and physical character depending on the availability of water and sediment and the effectiveness of the vegetation buffer, such that similar-looking micro-catchments responded in different ways. The largest debris flow far exceeded the others in magnitude, extending over 1 km with a descent of 246 m and an estimated volume of c. 1500–3000 m3, causing damage to a forestry road. Debris was entrained from a gullied relict talus, including fallen trees and incision of Lateglacial glaciofluvial sand. Deposit sedimentology and morphology demonstrate an initial debris-flow surge probably happened early in the storm coinciding with the greatest runoff generation, followed by later fluvial incision and sediment reworking. This appears to be the largest such event in the Lomond Hills for more than 90 years and may be characteristic of the landscape response to projected increases in convective rainfall intensities in twenty-first century summers.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)210-227
    Number of pages18
    JournalScottish Geographical Journal
    Issue number1-4
    Early online date9 Dec 2021
    Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2021


    • Convective storm
    • debris flow
    • extreme event
    • geomorphic threshold
    • rainfall intensity

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geography, Planning and Development
    • Earth-Surface Processes


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