Landslides and avalanches jointly cause approximately 150 deaths and €4.9 billion economic losses each year, with the impacts predicted to become more severe due to climate change. Mitigation and prevention of disasters requires accurate predictions of these phenomena, which due to their scale is only achievable via modelling and simulation. Accurate models of landslides in permafrost or avalanches must account for micro-scale (<1mm) processes such as cracks and shear bands that also involve thermal and hydrological effects that will be exacerbated by climate change. Such models do not currently exist. Further, this level of refinement is not computationally viable when modelling an entire mountainside, and so a new approach must be adopted.
This project will: 1) Develop new models for permafrost and snow subject to climate-change-induced loadings; 2) Use the new data-driven mechanics framework to transfer information from these models to the scale of the mountainside; and 3) Simulate the effects of climate change on the Mont-Blanc massif at Chamonix. This will combine the researcher's experience with shear band models with the supervisor's expertise in crack models and optimisation techniques. A secondment at a group specialising in simulating landslides and avalanches will provide the expertise to implement the simulation on a real mountainside.
This interdisciplinary project will ideally set the researcher for a career in academia in Europe, while benefiting the community at Chamonix, in particular the guide's association, as they will be able to plan adaptations and mitigations for the effects of climate change, ensuring their tourism industry remains viable. Specialised multiphysical models that are adapted to permafrost and snow will advance the state-of-the-art significantly, and the implementation of optimisation techniques in data-driven mechanics has wide applicability throughout civil and mechanical engineering, geology and environmental science.
Fields of science
- HORIZON.1.2 - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Main Programme
Funding SchemeHORIZON-AG-UN - HORIZON Unit Grant
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