Avalanches as Public Hazards
Avalanches as Public Hazards and Agents of Landscape Change in Southeast Alaska
- Keywords: Avalanche, Natural Hazard, Dendrochronology, Snow Science
- UAS Program Area: Environmental Science
- Principal Investigator: Eran Hood, Ph.D.
- Collaborator: Gabe Wolken (UAF)
- Project Period: April 2019–July 2021
- Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center: $150,000
It is critical to develop a better understanding of avalanches and the processes leading to avalanche formation in the City and Borough of Juneau (CBJ). An important step in filling knowledge gaps related to avalanche processes in the CBJ is linking avalanche incidence and magnitude with synoptic-scale patterns, and evaluating their frequency in the climatological record. This information would greatly aid local and regional avalanche forecasting operations and facilitate updates to local avalanche hazard maps. Juneau provides an ideal laboratory for studying avalanches and associated climate and weather patterns given its unique urban avalanche threats and, in the context of Alaska, continuous, long-term (>70 yrs) datasets on climate, snowfall and winter precipitation. Understanding the spatiotemporal behavior of avalanches and the contributory climate and weather factors in Juneau will ultimately improve avalanche forecasting efforts, including operations involving avalanche terrain that impacts transportation, utility and mining corridors. This study aims to answer the following questions:
• What is the regional and path specific frequency of large magnitude avalanches in the City and Borough of Juneau?
• Are there specific synoptic weather patterns that are associated with broad-scale avalanche incidence clusters and large scale magnitude events identified in the historical record (derived from tree cores)?
• Are there identifiable relationships between avalanche incidence and specific teleconnections including: ENSO, AO, PDO?