Item: Relationships between snow structure and avalanche release
Title: Relationships between snow structure and avalanche release
Proceedings: Proceedings of the 1976 International Snow Science Workshop, Banff, Alberta
Authors: R.L. Armstrong
Abstract: Each winter, from 100 to 200 avalanches affect the highways within the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. The University of Colorado Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (Instaar), has been studying the nature and causes of these avalanches for five winters in order to develop a forecast model. Results of the study have shown that accurate avalanche forecasting is strongly dependent on the structure of the snow cover as well as on meteorological parameters. Poor relationships between avalanche magnitude and frequency and precipitation amount are modified to include snow structure data, resulting in clearer understanding of the timing of slab failure. The character of several avalanche seasons is described to demonstrate the strong dependency of avalanche release on snow structure in both subfreezing and melting snow. Conventional and statistical methods of avalanche forecasting are discussed in terms of snow structure parameters as input variables.
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Keywords: forecasting, release, snow structure
Digital Abstract Not Available