Problems to be solved
The extreme avalanche winter of 1999 has made the European avalanche experts to rethink existing methods in order to calculate avalanche run out distance and prepare hazard maps. New methodologies, based on modern computer methods presently under development in all European countries, must be introduced in order to be able to manage the extreme avalanche periods better. The aim of this project is to understand the physical processes involved in dynamics of catastrophic avalanches and their interactions with defences structures.
Scientific objectives and approach
The aim of this project is to improve catastrophic snow avalanche zoning by developing new methods which will complement the classical methods based on expert and historical analysis. The new numerical models will be integrated in G.I.S and a database concerning well-documented avalanche data will be built. The macroscopic law of the interaction between avalanche flows and defence structures will be determined through laboratory physical scale-models and 3d numerical model experiments. The experiments will be carried out in laboratory-small scale models and also using refined numerical models. The numerical models including defence structures laws will be tested comparing their results to the available data from field. The obtained laws will be integrated in the avalanche numerical models. The database will be complemented with the available field data and major avalanche events that will be used to test the avalanche models including defence structures. New catastrophic avalanche risk mapping methods will be developed in order to improve the quality of avalanche zoning. Dissemination towards end users will be achieved through handbooks, trainings, demonstration and publications.
The Alps are the single most popular tourist region in the world drawing 120 millions visitors per year. The expansion of existing communities and construction in new developed areas requires accurate and easily used tools for avalanche zoning. The knowledge developed within this project will allow the European market to design in an efficient and competitive way the defence structures and to optimise the investments.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts