Item: The buildup of the avalanche section of the icelandic meteorological office
Title: The buildup of the avalanche section of the icelandic meteorological office
Proceedings: Proceedings of the 1998 International Snow Science Workshop, Sunriver, Oregon
Authors: Magnus Mar Magnusson, ICELANDIC METEOROLOGICAL OFFICE
Abstract: In this paper I will give a general overview of what we are doing at the Avalanche Section at the IMO. An attempt is being made at evaluating the risk levels for the various "avalanche villages" and base a new generation of risk/hazard maps on those results. We are trying to model snow drift problems in collaboration with French collegues. An investigation into morphological features of fluvial fans and an attempt of identifying avalanche debris is underway with promising results. The avalanche danger monitoring has been organized and evacuation procedures have been set up. The snow observer system has been further strengthened, with better training and equipment. A prototype electronic snow-depth stake is being tested, with very promising results. We are trying to use a laser distometer to measure snow depth profiles up the slopes as well as regular profiles to use in model calculations. In 1996 we installed some avalanche retaining structures to evaluate these structures under Icelandic conditions. We have done several measurements over the past two winters and have had interesting results. In order to evaluate snow accumulation conditions and in some cases in preparation for building avalanche defense structures, we have installed dozens of snow stakes in the starting zones above the various villages. They are regularly measured, using theodolites. A greater effort is being put into the collecting of historical avalanche data and the mapping of past avalanches.
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Keywords: avalanches, avalanche countermeasures, avalanche defense structures, debris flow
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