Item: Snow profile interpretation
Title: Snow profile interpretation
Proceedings: Proceedings of the 2000 International Snow Science Workshop, October 1-6, Big Sky, Montana
Authors: Thomas Wiesinger and Jurg Schweizer, Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research, Davos, Switzerland
Abstract: Snow profile interpretation is part of the every day work of any avalanche forecasting service. However, profile evaluation is considered rather an art than a technique. There are hardly any procedures known that could be used, and accordingly most forecasters have their own method. The avalanche forecasting service. in Switzerland has to analyze twice a month about 110 snow profiles recorded by its observers. This task is presently quite time consuming, and the results are not fully homogeneous. Therefore, part of the decision making process of some experienced forecasters at the Swiss Federal Institute of Snow and Avalanche Research was explored. Based on this broad experience, each parameter observed in a snow profile with a stability test has been described in view of stability evaluation. A tentative snowpack stability-rating scheme is proposed for dry snow conditions. The principal criteria are rutschblock score, hardness, presence and type of weak layers, gram type and size. It should help the forecasters in the future to more consistently interpret snow profiles.
Keywords: avalanche forecasting, snow stability evaluation, stability tests
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