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Empirical model for snowdrift distribution in avalanche-starting zones

  • M. Mases (a1), L. Buisson (a2), W. Frey (a2) and G. Martí (a1)

Abstract

Field data from Stillberg (Switzerland), provided by SFISAR, have been analysed in order to understand the spatial distribution of snow transported by wind in avalanche-starting zones. The results have been used to develop a new empirical model for snowdrift distribution. This model constitutes the “snow-wind module” of the knowledge-based computer system called ELSA.

The model is based on an empirical parameter called the wind or “aeolien” coefficient. It represents the relation between two snow heights at a given place: the snow accumulated at the end of a wind period (or wind episode) and the snow available for transport at the beginning of the wind period. The wind coefficient has been established using field data from the Stillberg site.

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Copyright

References

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Buisson, L. and Charlier, C. 1990. Analyse des sites avalancheux: le système ELSA. Neiges et Avalanches, 50, 1621.
Buisson, L. and Charlier, C. 1993. Avalanche modelling and integration of expert knowledge in the ELSA system. Ann. Glacial., 18, 123128.
Föhn, P. and Haechler, P. 1978. Prévision de grosses avalanches au moyen d’un modèle déterministe-statistique. In Deuxième Rencontre Internationale sur la Neige et les Avalanches, 12–13 et 14 avril 1978, Grenoble, France. Comptes Rendus. Grenoble, Association Nationale pour l’Étude de la Neige et des Avalanches. 151165.
Mases, M., Buisson, L., Good, W. and Vilaplana, J.M. 1995a. Étude de la répartition spatiale des effets du transport de neige par le vent: premiers travaux réalisées à partir de mesures systématiques sur le terrain. Houille Blanche, 50(5–6), 5055.
Mases, M., Buisson, L. and Frey, W. 1995b. Modélisation de la répartition spatiale de la neige transportée par le vent dans le système ELSA. In Sivardière, F., ed. Les apports de la recherche scientifique à la sécurité neige, glace et avalanche. Actes de Colloque, Chamonix 30 mai-3 juin 1995. Grenoble, Association Nationale pour l’Étude de la Neige et des Avalanches (ANENA), 4954.
Meister, R. 1989. Influence of strong winds on snow distribution and avalanche activity. Ann. Glaciol., 13, 195201.
Salm, B. 1983. Guide pratique sur les avalanches. Introduction á l’étude des avalanches fondée sur des travaux scientifiques et vulgarisés, destinée aux randonneurs, chefs de courses, responsables des services de sécurité et autres intéressés. Berne, Club Alpin Suisse.
Schweizer, J. and Föhn., P. M. B. 1996. Avalanche forecasting — an expert system approach. J. Glaciol., 42(141), 318332.

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