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Assessing avalanche risk by terrain analysis : an experimental GIS-approach to The Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES)

Nåfält, Simon LU (2016) In Student thesis series INES NGEK01 20161
Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
Abstract
This study addresses the complex nature of snow avalanches and how their location can be predicted, and thus avoided, when navigating through mountainous terrain during winter recreations. The avalanche risk in the ski area of Nuolja, in northern Sweden, was evaluated by an experimental implementation of the Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) which is a model for pre-trip planning and assessment of exposure to avalanches. The model includes a high level of subjectivity and thus requires some background knowledge in avalanche science. The parameters in ATES consider terrain characteristics and avalanche history to determine the exposure. Analysis was carried out by the use of GIS software which is a departure from the intended usage... (More)
This study addresses the complex nature of snow avalanches and how their location can be predicted, and thus avoided, when navigating through mountainous terrain during winter recreations. The avalanche risk in the ski area of Nuolja, in northern Sweden, was evaluated by an experimental implementation of the Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) which is a model for pre-trip planning and assessment of exposure to avalanches. The model includes a high level of subjectivity and thus requires some background knowledge in avalanche science. The parameters in ATES consider terrain characteristics and avalanche history to determine the exposure. Analysis was carried out by the use of GIS software which is a departure from the intended usage method. The model was implemented two times: Firstly, according to the original model and, secondly, through modifying ATES by including an altitude parameter which is a terrain factor that is not included in the original model. The results indicated that the highest exposure mainly residues in areas that have experienced avalanches in the past. Including altitude did not show any clear improvements, mainly due to difficulties in evaluating the results from a model that already includes the “ground truth”, which in this case were previous avalanches. It was concluded that ATES can be a valuable tool for avalanche prediction but the current model is not very well suited for GIS. Furthermore, the subjectivity in the model makes the results highly dependent on the producer. (Less)
Popular Abstract (Swedish)
Denna studie behandlar den komplexa karaktären hos snölaviner och hur de kan förutsägas, och därmed undvikas, vid navigering genom fjällterräng under vinteraktiviteter. Risken för laviner i skidområdet Nuolja, i norra Sverige, utvärderades genom en experimentell tillämpning av The Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) som är en modell utvecklad för planering och bedömning av lavinexponering. Modellen innehåller en hög grad subjektivitet och kräver därför en viss bakgrundskunskap inom lavinämnet. Parametrarna i ATES behandlar terrängen och lavinhistoria för att bestämma exponeringen. Analysen utfördes med hjälp av GIS-programvara vilket är en avvikelse från den avsedda användningsmetoden. Modellen genomfördes två gånger: först enligt den... (More)
Denna studie behandlar den komplexa karaktären hos snölaviner och hur de kan förutsägas, och därmed undvikas, vid navigering genom fjällterräng under vinteraktiviteter. Risken för laviner i skidområdet Nuolja, i norra Sverige, utvärderades genom en experimentell tillämpning av The Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) som är en modell utvecklad för planering och bedömning av lavinexponering. Modellen innehåller en hög grad subjektivitet och kräver därför en viss bakgrundskunskap inom lavinämnet. Parametrarna i ATES behandlar terrängen och lavinhistoria för att bestämma exponeringen. Analysen utfördes med hjälp av GIS-programvara vilket är en avvikelse från den avsedda användningsmetoden. Modellen genomfördes två gånger: först enligt den ursprungliga modellen och sen även genom en modifiering av ATES med hjälp av att inkludera en höjdparameter, vilket är en terrängfaktor som inte ingår i den ursprungliga modellen. Resultaten visade att den högsta exponeringen huvudsakligen förekommer i områden som har utsatts laviner förut. Inkluderingen av höjdparametern visade inte några tydliga förbättringar, främst på grund av svårigheterna att utvärdera resultaten från en modell som redan omfattar utvärderingsdata, som i det här fallet var historiska laviner. Det konstaterades att ATES kan vara ett värdefullt verktyg för att förutsäga lavinriskområden, men den nuvarande modellen är inte väl lämpad för GIS. Vidare gör subjektiviteten i modellen att resultaten i hög grad beroende på användaren. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Nåfält, Simon LU
supervisor
organization
course
NGEK01 20161
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
Altitude, ATES, avalanche, terrain analysis, GIS, Nuolja, Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
publication/series
Student thesis series INES
report number
383
language
English
id
8882361
date added to LUP
2016-06-20 15:23:03
date last changed
2016-06-20 15:23:03
@misc{8882361,
  abstract     = {This study addresses the complex nature of snow avalanches and how their location can be predicted, and thus avoided, when navigating through mountainous terrain during winter recreations. The avalanche risk in the ski area of Nuolja, in northern Sweden, was evaluated by an experimental implementation of the Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES) which is a model for pre-trip planning and assessment of exposure to avalanches. The model includes a high level of subjectivity and thus requires some background knowledge in avalanche science. The parameters in ATES consider terrain characteristics and avalanche history to determine the exposure. Analysis was carried out by the use of GIS software which is a departure from the intended usage method. The model was implemented two times: Firstly, according to the original model and, secondly, through modifying ATES by including an altitude parameter which is a terrain factor that is not included in the original model. The results indicated that the highest exposure mainly residues in areas that have experienced avalanches in the past. Including altitude did not show any clear improvements, mainly due to difficulties in evaluating the results from a model that already includes the “ground truth”, which in this case were previous avalanches. It was concluded that ATES can be a valuable tool for avalanche prediction but the current model is not very well suited for GIS. Furthermore, the subjectivity in the model makes the results highly dependent on the producer.},
  author       = {Nåfält, Simon},
  keyword      = {Altitude,ATES,avalanche,terrain analysis,GIS,Nuolja,Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Student thesis series INES},
  title        = {Assessing avalanche risk by terrain analysis : an experimental GIS-approach to The Avalanche Terrain Exposure Scale (ATES)},
  year         = {2016},
}