101-0288-00L  Snow and Avalanches: Processes and Risk Management

SemesterSpring Semester 2018
LecturersJ. Schweizer, S. L. Margreth
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


AbstractThe lecture covers snow and avalanche processes in a catchment (starting zone, path and run-out zone) with a particular focus on risk management in the context of natural hazards.
Objective- basics of snow and avalanche mechanics
- methods to model snow and avalanche processes
- interaction of snow and avalanches with structures and forest
- methods of stability evaluation and hazard assessment
- avalanche protection measures in the context of integral risk management
- basics on the design and effectiveness of protection measures
ContentIntroduction, snow precipitation, extreme events, snow loads; snow and snow cover properties; snow-atmosphere interaction; avalanche formation; stability evaluation, avalanche forecasting; avalanche dynamics; avalanche impact on structures; hazard mapping; protection measures (permanent and temporal); integral risk management.
LiteratureArmstrong, R.L. and Brun, E. (Editors), 2008. Snow and Climate - Physical processes, surface energy exchange and modeling. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K., 222 pp.

BUWAL/SLF, 1984. Richtlinien zur Berücksichtigung der Lawinengefahr bei raumwirksamen Tätigkeiten. EDMZ, Bern.

Egli, T., 2005. Wegleitung Objektschutz gegen gravitative Naturgefahren, Vereinigung Kantonaler Feuerversicherungen (Hrsg.), Bern.

Fierz, C., Armstrong, R.L., Durand , Y., Etchevers, P., Greene, E., McClung, D.M., Nishimura, K., Satyawali, P.K. and Sokratov, S.A., 2009. The International Classification for Seasonal Snow on the Ground. HP-VII Technical Documents in Hydrology, 83. UNESCO-IHP, Paris, France, 90 pp.

Furukawa, Y. and Wettlaufer, J.S., 2007. Snow and ice crystals. Physics Today, 60(12): 70-71.

Margreth, S., 2007. Technische Richtlinie für den Lawinenverbau im Anbruchgebiet. Bundesamt für Umwelt, Bern, WSL Eidg. Institut für Schnee- und Lawinenforschung Davos. 134 S.

McClung. D.M. and Schaerer, P. 2006. The Avalanche Handbook, 3rd ed., The Mountaineers, Seattle.

Mears, A.I., 1992. Snow-avalanche hazard analysis for land-use planning and engineering. 49, Colorado Geological Survey.

Schweizer, J., Bartelt, P. and van Herwijnen, A., 2015. Snow avalanches. In: W. Haeberli and C. Whiteman (Editors), Snow and Ice-Related Hazards, Risks and Disasters. Hazards and Disaster Series. Elsevier, pp. 395-436.

Schweizer, J., Jamieson, J.B. and Schneebeli, M., 2003. Snow avalanche formation. Reviews of Geophysics, 41(4): 1016, doi:10.1029/2002RG000123.

Shapiro, L.H., Johnson, J.B., Sturm, M. and Blaisdell, G.L., 1997. Snow mechanics - Review of the state of knowledge and applications. Report 97-3, US Army CRREL, Hanover, NH, U.S.A.
Prerequisites / NoticeFull-day excursion (not mandatory) to Davos, hands-on experience on selected topcis, visit at WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF (early March 2017)