Item: Methodology of snow avalanche post-event field investigations: tools, difficulties and perspectives
Title: Methodology of snow avalanche post-event field investigations: tools, difficulties and perspectives
Proceedings: Proceedings of the 2006 International Snow Science Workshop, Telluride, Colorado
Authors: Jean-Marc Tacnet, Sébastien Escande, François Rapin, Roland Burnet (Cemagref – France), Mireille Batton-Hubert (Ecole des Mines de Saint-Etienne – France)
Abstract: Avalanche post-event field investigations are usually made immediately following the event. Assessments and results often vary depending on the person in charge. The reliability of these data is sometimes discussed when used in applications such as hazard assessment mapping, defence works design, and rescue plan implementation. This article proposes a contribution to the evaluation of postevent data reliability. First, the need for a reliability index and the role of post-event analysis in the overall risk management process are analyzed. Preliminary challenges comprise expert assessment development processes and sufficiently distinguishing between facts and expert assessment or analysis. In the second part of this article, qualitative elements related to expert assessments and the corresponding levels of reliability are listed. A recent (winter 2006) snow avalanche event in France – the Bouisset path avalanche (Pelvoux, Hautes-Alpes) – is used as an introduction. Data record contents are described, with particular attention given to how they are obtained (measurement, visual impression, testimonies, etc.) and to their possible reliability. A quantitative evaluation methodology, based on the Analytic Hierarchic Process, is then proposed. This methodology appears to closely match the data structure standards for both efficient storage and information sharing (ISO 19 115). Finally, the limits of the proposed approach and needs for further developments are discussed. The Analytic Hierarchic Process-based methodology is an easy and understandable method for explaining expert assessment but cannot cope with paradoxical or conflicting information. Considering the use of recorded data in information systems, the link between reliability and data traceability is a major issue.
Keywords: snow avalanche assessment, analytic hierarchic process, reliability, traceability, information systems
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