Long title: bDFA – beyond dense flow avalanches. Quantifying the destructive reach of snow avalanches beyond the dense flow regime
Funding: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften (ÖAW), Earth System Sciences (ESS)
Project duration: 01.04.2015 - 31.03.2018


A long standing problem in avalanche science is to quantify the destructive potential of the air-blast that arises from snow avalanche motion. This problem is especially difficult to solve because the air blast extends beyond the reach of the dense flowing core. For the last 20 years, avalanche dynamics research has concentrated on understanding the motion of the dense flow regime. Newly developed numerical models for dense flow avalanches (DFA) have become essential tools for hazard mitigation. They are applied extensively in Austria and Switzerland to delineate hazard maps and design avalanche defence structures. However, the problem of the avalanche air-blast remains.

The main goal of this project is to test, extend and apply existing dense/powder avalanche dynamics models to predict the destructive force of avalanches beyond the dense flow regime (bDFA). This has large socio-economic impact as it relates directly to hazard zoning and the design of mitigation measures. The project combines research groups from Austria and Switzerland who have identical questions regarding the problem of avalanches beyond the dense flow regime. Based on a three level assessment and the analysis of the socio-economic impacts a comprehensive recommendation concerning the improvement of existing simulation models with respect to possible bDFA processes are the final result of the project.

Perry Bartelt
WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF (Davos, CH)
Wolfgang Fellin
Matthias Rauter
Unit of Geotechnical and Tunnel Engineering, University of Innsbruck
Jan-Thomas Fischer
Austrian Research Centre for Forests (Innsbruck, A)
Matthias Granig
Philipp Jörg
Siegfried Sauermoser
Torrent and Avlanche Control (WLV, Innsbruck, A)
Rudolf Sailer
Karl-Michael Höferl
Institute of Geography, University of Innsbruck (lead partner)
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