Run Uphill for a Tsunami, Downhill for a Landslide

Published in: Issues in Science and Technology, Volume 38, No. 1, pages 40–46 (Fall 2021)

Posted on on November 12, 2021

by Lisa Busch, Robert J. Lempert, Max Izenberg, Annette Patton

Read More

Access further information on this document at

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

Historic Sitka, Alaska, a town of 9,000 residents, is located on an island southwest of the state capital of Juneau, in the heart of the Tongass National Forest. The Pacific Ocean borders one side of the town, with steep mountains rising above the other. The community has long recognized the threat of tsunamis, but heavy rains in recent years have now caused landslides to be a concern as well. This is the story of how Sitka came to build its own innovative landslide warning system, as told by members of the team working to develop it.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.