A regional early warning for slushflow hazard

Sund, Monica; Grønsten, Heidi A.; Seljesæter, Siv Å.

Slushflows are rapid mass movements of water-saturated snow. They release in gently sloping locations (inline-formula<30°) and are hence not restricted to steep slopes. Slushflows are observed worldwide in areas with seasonal snow cover and pose a significant natural hazard in Norway. Hazard prediction and early warning are therefore crucial to prevent casualties and damage to infrastructure.

A regional early warning for slushflow hazard was established in Norway in 2013–2014 as the first of its kind in the world. It has been operational since then. Four main variables are central in the methodology used: ground conditions, snow properties, air temperature, and water supply to snow. Gridded forecasting model simulations in the decision-making tool Varsom Xgeo, real-time data from automatic stations, and field observations from the field are assessed. Based on data from historical slushflows, a water supply–snow depth by snow type ratio has been developed as an assessment tool. This approach can be implemented in other areas with slushflow hazard where the necessary input data are available.

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Sund, Monica / Grønsten, Heidi A. / Seljesæter, Siv Å.: A regional early warning for slushflow hazard. 2024. Copernicus Publications.

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