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Large-scale snow instability patterns in western Canada: first analysis of the CAA–IfoEx database 1991–2002

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Daily weather measurements, snow stability assessments and recorded weak layers of 23 stations covering an observation area of approximately 40000 km2in western Canada were analyzed. The study area includes three major mountain ranges with different snow climates. All stations included assess the stability of the snow cover. However, the focus of the avalanche safety program of the different types of operation (heli-ski operation, ski resorts and parks) varies significantly. The three stations in the Coast Mountains show the highest snow stability, followed by the South Columbia Moun- tains and then the North Columbia and Rocky Mountains. The weather data were ana- lyzed to try to explain some of these differences. Intensive snowfall at relatively high temperatures proved to be important for the higher snow stability over the season in the Coast Mountains. The weak-layer data were used to complement the snow stability assess- ments. Most persistent weak layers were reported in the Columbia Mountains, followed by the three stations in the Coast Mountains and trailed by the Rocky Mountains. Although some weather observations indicate climatic reasons for the smaller number of weak layers in the Rocky Mountains, it cannot be excluded that these differences are also related to the different type of operations.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2004

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  • 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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