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Catastrophic avalanches: defense structures and zoning in europe

Objective

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.
Expected impacts
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 Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

CENTRE NATIONAL DU MACHINISME AGRICOLE, DU GENIE RURAL, DES EAUX ET DES FORETS
Address
Rue De La Papetrie 2 Domaine Universitaire
38402 Saint-martin-d'heres
France

Participants (9)

AVL LIST GMBH
Austria
Address
48,Hans-list-platz 1
8020 Graz
FEDERAL RESEARCH AND TRAINING CENTRE FOR FORESTS, NATURAL HAZARDS AND LANDSCAPE
Austria
Address
1,Hofburg/rennweg 1
6020 Innsbruck
ICELANDIC METEOROLOGICAL OFFICE
Iceland
Address
9,Bustadavegi 9
150 Reykjavik
INSTITUT NATIONAL DES SCIENCES APPLIQUEES DE TOULOUSE
France
Address
Avenue De Rangueil 135
31077 Toulouse
NORWEGIAN GEOTECHNICAL INSTITUTE
Norway
Address
Sognsveien 72
0806 Oslo
REGIONE VENETO
Italy
Address
Passo Campolongo 122
32020 Arabba
SWISS FEDERAL INSTITUTE FOR FOREST, SNOW AND LANDSCAPE RESEARCH
Switzerland
Address
Flüelastrasse 11
7260 Davos
UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI PAVIA
Italy
Address
Corso Strada Nuova 65
27100 Pavia
UNIVERSITAET FUER BODENKULTUR WIEN
Austria
Address
Gregor Mendel Strasse 33
Wien