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Application of statistical simulation for avalanche-risk evaluation

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Avalanche risk is considered as the probability of an avalanche event that could cause certain losses. A unified approach for avalanche-risk evaluation by statistical simulation is suggested. A chain of models, describing snow deposition, transformation, stability, avalanche dynamics and interaction with an obstacle, is used within such an approach. Each of the models evaluates a given situation in a deterministic manner, yielding a unique result value. Output data of each model can be the input for the next model in the chain. Uncertainty of input data is described in a probabilistic manner. Using the chain of the deterministic models and simulating the input data according to appropriate probability distributions with the Monte Carlo method, risk evaluations are obtained as the ratio of a number of certain types of outcome to the total number of tests. All kinds of information on weather, snow and avalanches can be used within this scheme. The simulation process can be started at any stage of the modelling. In this study it was started from the snow-cover stability simulation. Application of the statistical simulation in such a way gives an opportunity to reflect uncertainty of the initial data in the results obtained. The suggested scheme was used for producing a computer-assisted workplace for avalanche forecasting, "LAVINA", which has been exploited at the Centre of Avalanche Safety of "Apatit", Kirovsk, Russia, since the early 1990s. It is an integrated system that permits spatial and temporal estimations of snow stability and avalanche dynamics to be made. Assessments of the validity of the risk estimation made with LAVINA are presented.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2001-01-01

More about this publication?
  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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