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Avalanche frequency and terrain characteristics at Rogers’ Pass, British Columbia, Canada

  • M.J. Smith (a1) and D. M. McClung (a1)

Abstract

The frequency of avalanches at a given location is the primary variable for calculating the risk as input to zoning applications and decisions about avalanche-control options. In this paper, we present an in-depth study of avalanche frequency using an extensive data base of avalanche-occurrence records from Rogers’ Pass, British Columbia (43 avalanche paths; 24 years of records). This study, the first of its kind for high-frequency avalanche paths, yields the result that the frequency of avalanches may be described by a Poisson distribution. Study of the relationship between terrain variables and precipitation estimates shows that avalanche frequency is significantly correlated with path roughness, 30 year maximum water equivalent, east-west location from Rogers’ Pass summit, wind exposure and run-out zone elevation and inclination. With the length of avalanche-occurrence records and quality of the data, we believe our study is the most comprehensive in existence about avalanche frequency and its relation to terrain variables.

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References

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