Automated snow avalanche release area delineation – validation of existing algorithms and proposition of a new object-based approach for large-scale hazard indication mapping

Bühler, Yves; von Rickenbach, Daniel; Stoffel, Andreas; Margreth, Stefan; Stoffel, Lukas; Christen, Marc

Snow avalanche hazard is threatening people and infrastructure in all alpine regions with seasonal or permanent snow cover around the globe. Coping with this hazard is a big challenge and during the past centuries, different strategies were developed. Today, in Switzerland, experienced avalanche engineers produce hazard maps with a very high reliability based on avalanche database information, terrain analysis, climatological data sets and numerical modeling of the flow dynamics for selected avalanche tracks that might affect settlements. However, for regions outside the considered settlement areas such area-wide hazard maps are not available mainly because of the too high cost, in Switzerland and in most mountain regions around the world. Therefore, hazard indication maps, even though they are less reliable and less detailed, are often the only spatial planning tool available. To produce meaningful and cost-effective avalanche hazard indication maps over large regions (regional to national scale), automated release area delineation has to be combined with volume estimations and state-of-the-art numerical avalanche simulations.

In this paper we validate existing potential release area (PRA) delineation algorithms, published in peer-reviewed journals, that are based on digital terrain models and their derivatives such as slope angle, aspect, roughness and curvature. For validation, we apply avalanche data from three different ski resorts in the vicinity of Davos, Switzerland, where experienced ski-patrol staff have mapped most avalanches in detail for many years. After calculating the best fit input parameters for every tested algorithm, we compare their performance based on the reference data sets. Because all tested algorithms do not provide meaningful delineation between individual PRAs, we propose a new algorithm based on object-based image analysis (OBIA). In combination with an automatic procedure to estimate the average release depth (inline-formulad0), defining the avalanche release volume, this algorithm enables the numerical simulation of thousands of avalanches over large regions applying the well-established avalanche dynamics model RAMMS. We demonstrate this for the region of Davos for two hazard scenarios, frequent (10–30-year return period) and extreme (100–300-year return period). This approach opens the door for large-scale avalanche hazard indication mapping in all regions where high-quality and high-resolution digital terrain models and snow data are available.

Zitieren

Zitierform:

Bühler, Yves / von Rickenbach, Daniel / Stoffel, Andreas / et al: Automated snow avalanche release area delineation – validation of existing algorithms and proposition of a new object-based approach for large-scale hazard indication mapping. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

Zugriffsstatistik

Gesamt:
Volltextzugriffe:
Metadatenansicht:
12 Monate:
Volltextzugriffe:
Metadatenansicht:

Grafik öffnen

Rechte

Rechteinhaber: Yves Bühler et al.

Nutzung und Vervielfältigung:

Export