Thursday 10. September 2009

Lunch Lecture: 2D Modelling of Icelandic Snow Avalanches for Hazard Zoning

Friday September 11 at 12.10, after a long summer break, the first Lunch lecture this fall will be held. Eiríkur Gíslason, a building engeneer at the Avalance Research Centre in Ísafjörður, will talk about 2D modelling of Icelandic snow avalanches for hazard zoning. The talk will be in English and will be held in the cafeteria of the University Centre. It is open to all who are interested.

Eiríkur has been invited to give this talk at the International Snow Science Workshop in Davos, Switserland later this month.

The methodology for snow avalanche hazard zoning in Iceland is partly based on a statistical runout analysis of a dataset of historical avalanches. The method makes use of a one-dimensional snow avalanche model to define a quantitative measure of run-out which is termed run-out index. The samosAT two-dimensional model was used to simulate some of the avalanches in the dataset. The runout index concept has been expanded to two dimensions and the two-dimensional indices are used to form single runout data series. The 2D model results show a distinct difference in relative runout lengths compared with more conventional one-dimensional avalanche modelling along longitudinal profiles. Geometrical features of the avalanche path can, thus, be used to explain a part of the difference in return periods between paths. This leads to more consistent return period estimates which make the hazard zoning procedure more objective and reduces the reliance on subjective judgment of the avalanche expert in the hazard zoning process.

Eiríkur Gíslason completed a master's degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Iceland in 2007. Since graduation he has been working at the Avalanche Research Center in Ísafjörður, a part of the Icelandic Meteorological Office, mainly in the field of avalanche simulation.