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Snow Profiles and Avalanche Activity in the Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland

  • R. G. W. Ward (a1), E. D. G. langmuir (a2) and B. Beattie (a3)

Abstract

The paper presents data on the snow cover in the Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland, and compares typical Scottish snow profiles with those measured in alpine, continental, and polar areas. The paper shows that in the Cairngorms snow temperatures are higher and as a result densities and ram penetration resistances are also higher. Typical densities are between 350 and 500 kg m−3 and ram resistances are frequently above 50 or even 100 kg. Typical profiles show large masses of windslab above an equigranular basal layer of old snow, and ice layers are common throughout the profile. Avalanche activity is related to two types of profile both of which share low ram resistance in common. Dry-slab avalanches release when densities are of the order of 250 kg m−3 or less and snow temperatures down to – 10° C in the upper layers. Wet slabs and sluffs fall when the snow is isothermal at the melting point. Densities are usually over 450 kg m−3 and may reach over 600 kgm−3 in slush layers supported by ice lenses.

Résumé

Profils de neige et activités avalancheuses dans les Cairngorm Mountains, Écosse. L’article présente des données sur le manteau neigeux dans les Cairngorm Mountains en Écosse et compare les profils de neige typiques d’Écosse avec ceux mesurés dans les régions alpines, continentales et polaires. On montre que dans les Cairngorms les températures de la neige sont plus élevées et que par conséquent les densités et les résistances au battage sont aussi plus élevées. Les densités typiques se situent entre 350 et 500 kg m−3 et les résistances au battage sont souvent supérieures à 50 ou même à 100 kg. Les profils typiques montrent des grandes masses de plaques à vent au-dessus d’un niveau de base de vieille neige équigranulaire, et des niveaux de glace sont fréquents dans le profil. L’activité avalancheuse est liée à deux types de profils tous deux ayant en commun une faible résistance au battage. Les avalanches de niege sèche surviennent lorsque les densités sont le l’ordre de 250kgm−3 ou moins et les températures de la neige en-dessous de –10° C dans les niveaux supérieurs. Les avalanches de plaques humides et des paquets de neige fondante tombent lorsque le neige est isotherme au point de fusion. Les densités sont ordinairement de plus de 450 kg m−3 et peuvent atteindre plus de 600 kgm−3 dans les niveaux de neige fondante surmontant des lentilles de glace.

Zusammenfassung

Schneeprofile und Lawinentätigkeit in den Cairngorm Mountains, Schottland. Die Arbeit stellt Daten über die Schneedecke in den Cairngorm Mountains, Schottland, vor und vergleicht typisch schottische Schneeprofile mit solchen, die in mehr alpin, kontinentalen und polaren Gebieten vermessen wurden. Es wird gezeigt, dass in den Cairngorms die Schneetemperaturen höher und als Folge davon auch die Dichten und die Rammwiderstände höher sind. Typische Dichtewerte liegen zwischen 350 und 500 kgm−3 und die Rammwiderstände sind häufig grösser als 50 oder sogar 100kg. Typische Profile zeigen grosse. Mengen von Windverdriftung über einer gleichmässig gekörnten Grundschicht von altem Schnee und enthalten durchwegs Eisschichten. Die Lawinentätigkeit steht mit 2 Profiltypen in Beziehung, die beide durch niedrige Rammwiderstände gekennzeichnet sind. Trockene Brettlawinen gehen bei Dichtewerten von 250kg m−3 oder weniger und Schneetemperaturen bis –10° C in den oberen Schichten ab. Nasse Schneebretter lösen sich, wenn der Schnee sehr nass ist und sich durchwegs auf Schmelztemperatur befindet. In Matsch-Schichten mit Eislinsen liegen die Dichtewerte gewöhnlich über 450 kg m–3 ünd Können über 600 kg m–3 erreichen.

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References

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