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Computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulation of snowdrift in alpine environments, including a local weather model, for operational avalanche warning

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Abstract:

A new continuum approach to snowdrift modelling is introduced. In addition, numerical studies are carried out to identify the influence of time-varying wind conditions on snowdrift simulations. We compare the snowdrift patterns at Grimming mountain, Austria, derived using a time-averaged wind field and a time-varying wind field obtained from the numerical weather prediction model INCA. The results show significant differences in the deposition patterns and snow depth even after a 6 hour drift period. Using time-averaged boundary conditions leads to an underprediction of the resulting snow depth caused by averaging the wind speed, which lets gusts of wind disappear while snow transport is a non-linear function of the wind speed. Using numerical weather prediction models for snowdrift simulation therefore provides enhanced knowledge of the snow depth for local avalanche warning services.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3189/172756408784700789

Publication date: 2008-06-01

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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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