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Probabilistic Modelling for Avalanche Risk Assessment – MOPERA

MOPERA

Probabilistic Modelling for Avalanche Risk Assessment

Context and objectives

Avalanche hazard threatens settlements in mountainous regions, where the lack of space induces a continuous increase of the vulnerability of human communities and of the related vital touristic industry. The MOPERA project is specifically focused on the normal phase of avalanche hazard assessment, but will address the full chain of risk with an integrated approach, from data collection to decision for land use planning. MOPERA includes hazard and vulnerability quantification and mapping, design of defense structures and optimisation of countermeasures. The main region of interest is the French alpine space, and the period under study is predominantly the 20th century, for which the analysis of existing historical databases and testimonies is possible.

Contrary to many other existing approaches that do not fully consider the probabilistic nature of reference hazards such as a centennial avalanche, probabilistic modelling is at the hearth of the MOEPRA project. It will be used as the common integration language to bring together elementary blocks of existing information and new knowledge. Already available information includes mainly the available data, the actually developed numerical and analytical models for avalanche flows and interaction with obstacles, as well as the traditional naturalistic approaches to describe avalanche sites. New developments will be engaged in civil engineering for physical vulnerability assessment, in dendrogeomorphology to complement the short historical chronicle available, and in economy and social sciences to quantify the organisational vulnerability of mountain communities. Special attention will be given to the problem of the uncertainty quantification due to the lack of local information and to possible non-stationarities due to anthropogenic and natural changes (e.g., climate change). This uncertainty quantification is fundamental to provide reasonable long term predictions and decisions.

The MOPERA project will structure a multidisciplinary research community around the thematic of probabilistic assessment of avalanche risk. The consortium is constituted of five leading teams in their respective fields, and federated around the snow science division of Cemagref, which has more than 30 years of experience in avalanche research and engineering. Members of the specialised technical state services in charge of avalanche risk (RTM/ONF) as well as of the risk division of the French ministry of environment (DGPR, French ministry of environment) will be associated to the project’s management, so as to develop methods adapted to the operational needs. Moreover, these partners will be strongly associated to the implementation of the proposed methodological developments on pilot test sites, which should facilitate the transfer of project’s outputs to the engineering community. Finally, a workshop and courses will also be organised to diffuse more largely project’s outputs to stake holders in the avalanche field.

Construct a following project with an enlarged partnership.

A few publications

Bertrand, D., Naaim, M., Brun, M. (2010). Physical vulnerability of reinforced concrete buildings impacted by snow avalanches. Natural Hazards and Earth System Science. Vol. 10, Issue 7. pp 1531-1545 .
Castebrunet, H., Eckert, N., Giraud, G. (2012). Snow and weather climatic control on snow avalanche occurrence fluctuations over 50 yr in the French Alps, Climate of the Past, 8, pp 855–875.
Caccamo P., Chanut B., Faug T., Bellot H., Naaim-Bouvet F., 2012, Small-scale tests to investigate the dynamics of finite-sized dry granular avalanches and forces on a wall-like obstacle. Granular Matter.In press.
Eckert, N., Naaim, M., Parent, E. (2010). Long-term avalanche hazard assessment with a Bayesian depth-averaged propagation model. Journal of Glaciology. Vol. 56, N° 198. pp 563-586.
Eckert, N., Baya, H., Deschâtres, M. (2010). Assessing the response of snow avalanche runout altitudes to climate fluctuations using hierarchical modeling: application to 61 winters of data in France. Journal of Climate. 23. pp 3157-3180.
Eckert, N., Keylock, C. J., Bertrand, D., Parent, E., Faug, T., Favier, P., Naaim, M. (2012). Quantitative risk and optimal design approaches in the snow avalanche field: Review and extensions. Cold Regions Science and Technology. 79-80. pp 1-19.
Faug T., Caccamo P., Chanut B. 2011. Equation for the force experienced by a wall overflowed by a granular avalanche: experimental verification, Physical Review E, 84, 051301.
Gaume J., Chambon G., Eckert N., Naaim M. (2012). Relative influence of mechanical and meteorological factors on avalanche release depth distributions: An application to French Alps. Geophysical Research Letters, in press. doi:10.1029/2012GL051917.

Avalanche hazard threatens settlements in mountainous regions, where the lack of space induces a continuous increase of the vulnerability of human communities and of the related vital touristic industry. The MOPERA project is specifically focused on the normal phase of avalanche hazard assessment, but will address the full chain of risk with an integrated approach, from data collection to decision for land use planning. MOPERA includes hazard and vulnerability quantification and mapping, design of defense structures and optimisation of countermeasures. The main region of interest is the French alpine space, and the period under study is predominantly the 20th century, for which the analysis of existing historical databases and testimonies is possible. Contrary to many other existing approaches that do not fully consider the probabilistic nature of reference hazards such as a centennial avalanche, probabilistic modelling is at the hearth of the MOPERA project. It will be used as the common integration language to bring together elementary blocks of existing information and new knowledge. Already available information includes mainly the available data, the actually developed numerical and analytical models for avalanche flows and interaction with obstacles, as well as the traditional naturalistic approaches to describe avalanche sites. New developments will be engaged in civil engineering for physical vulnerability assessment, in dendrogeomorphology to complement the short historical chronicle available, and in economy and social sciences to quantify the organisational vulnerability of mountain communities. Special attention will be given to the problem of the uncertainty quantification due to the lack of local information and to possible non-stationarities due to anthropogenic and natural changes (e.g., climate change). This uncertainty quantification is fundamental to provide reasonable long term predictions and decisions. The MOPERA project will structure a multidisciplinary research community around the thematic of probabilistic assessment of avalanche risk. The consortium is constituted of five leading teams in their respective fields, and federated around the snow science division of Cemagref, which has more than 30 years of experience in avalanche research and engineering. Members of the specialised technical state services in charge of avalanche risk (RTM/ONF) as well as of the risk division of the French ministry of environment (DGPR, French ministry of environment) will be associated to the project’s management, so as to develop methods adapted to the operational needs. Moreover, these partners will be strongly associated to the implementation of the proposed methodological developments on pilot test sites, which should facilitate the transfer of project’s outputs to the engineering community. Finally, a workshop and courses will also be organised to diffuse more largely project’s outputs to stake holders in the avalanche field.

Project coordination

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

Help of the ANR 0 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: - 0 Months

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