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Verified combination of numerical weather- and avalancheprediction models at Kootenay Pass, British Columbia, Canada

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The combination of numerical weather prediction (NWP) and snow avalanche forecasting has been performed using the output of two weather models run at the University of British Columbia, Canada, and a local numerical avalanche-forecasting model developed for Kootenay Pass (McClung and Tweedy, 1994). The main motivations for this work are. (1) to extend the lead time of avalanche forecasts by using NWP forecasts of meteorological variables as input to statistical avalanche-threat models (instead of the traditional method of using current/past observed meteorological variables as input); and (2) to create another tool to help avalanche forecasters in their daily decision-making by making true forecasts instead of ''nowcasts''. Therefore, verified weather-forecast model output was used as input for the local avalanche-forecasting model at Kootenay Pass. The resulting 24 hour avalanche forecast was compared to observed avalanche occur- rences and to the 12 hour avalanche forecast with current weather observations. As a result, the avalanche-model output for the test runs with numerically predicted weather data is comparable in accuracy to the runs with observed weather data. The results also suggest that avalanches may be predicted statistically for 24 hours into the future when high-resolution NWP is used as input, weather- and avalanche-forecast errors taken into account during operational use.

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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