EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Monitoring and modelling snow avalanches to innovate road safety management in alpine valleys

Pia Ruttner-Jansen1,2,3, Julia Glaus1,2, Andreas Wieser3, and Yves Bühler1,2
Pia Ruttner-Jansen et al.
  • 1WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Davos Dorf, 7260, Switzerland
  • 2Climate Change, Extremes, and Natural Hazards in Alpine Regions Research Center CERC, Davos Dorf, 7260, Switzerland
  • 3Institute of Geodesy and Photogrammetry, ETH Zurich, Zurich, 8093, Switzerland

Snow avalanches threaten people and infrastructure in alpine regions. Each winter situations occur that require road closures, which have a major impact on the affected people and economy. The decisions on road safety measures are done by local experts, who decide based on information from the avalanche bulletin, weather forecast and most importantly personal experience. Valuable, detailed information about the snow depth distribution, especially in avalanche release areas is not available in sufficient resolution. To fill this data-gap, we propose a remote-sensing based approach to map, monitor and model the snow depth distribution and its development in avalanche release areas, with high spatial and temporal resolution. The main applied technologies are photogrammetry and LiDAR, both air-borne and ground-based. The newly build up snow database will serve as input to improve the simulation of avalanches and especially the runout distance, which is ultimately crucial for the decision of closing or re-opening a road.

How to cite: Ruttner-Jansen, P., Glaus, J., Wieser, A., and Bühler, Y.: Monitoring and modelling snow avalanches to innovate road safety management in alpine valleys, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-13240,, 2023.