The Elements of Applied Avalanche Forecasting, Part I: The Human Issues
Author: McClung, D.M.
Source: Natural Hazards, Volume 26, Number 2, June 2002 , pp. 111-129(19)
Abstract:Avalanche forecasting has traditionally been defined from the perspective of a geophysical problem with respect to the state of stability of the snow cover. In this two-part treatise, avalanche forecasting is described in a broader sense by dividing it into seven inter-connected elements: I. definition; II. goal; III. human factors and perception; IV. reasoning process; V. information types and informational entropy; VI. scales in space and time; and VII. decision-making. Part I (this paper), contains the first four elements which are mostly about the human issues and Part II (the following paper) contains the last three elements, which are mostly about the physical issues, and some basic Rules of applied avalanche forecasting. A principal thesis is that all seven elements must be mastered for optimal avalanche forecasting. In addition to the seven elements, the connection to avalanche forecasting as an exercise in risk analysis is made. Inherent in the argument is that avalanche forecasting is a dynamic problem dealing with variations and interaction of a human (avalanche forecaster) and natural system (temporal and spatially varying state of instability of the snow cover). The primary result of the two papers is a first attempt to formally integrate human influences with a new interpretation of the geophysical problem. Since most avalanche accidents result from human errors, no description of avalanche forecasting is complete unless the human component is addressed.
Document Type: Regular Paper
Affiliations: Department of Geography, 1984 West Mall, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z2, Canada E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Publication date: June 2002