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Natural Hazards

, Volume 65, Issue 3, pp 1313–1330 | Cite as

Data-driven mapping of avalanche release areas: a case study in South Tyrol, Italy

  • A. PistocchiEmail author
  • C. Notarnicola
Original Paper

Abstract

Avalanche hazard and risk mapping is of utmost importance in mountain areas in Europe and elsewhere. Advanced methods have been developed to describe several aspects of avalanche hazard assessment, such as the dynamics of snow avalanches or the intensity of snowfall to assume as a reference meteorological forcing. However, relatively little research has been conducted on the identification of potential avalanche release areas. In this paper, we present a probabilistic assessment of potential avalanche release areas in the Italian Autonomous Province of Bolzano, eastern Alps, using the Weights of Evidence and Logistic Regression methods with commonly available GIS datasets. We show that a data-driven statistical model performs better than simple, although widely adopted, screening criteria that were proposed in the past, although the complexity of observed release areas is only partly captured by the model. In the best case, the model enables predicting about 70 % of avalanches in the 20 % of area classified at highest hazard. Based on our results, we suggest that probabilistic identification of potential release areas could provide a useful aid in the screening of sites for subsequent, more detailed hazard assessment.

Keywords

Avalanche release areas Weights of evidence Logistic regression Alps 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The research was partly funded within the Interreg IVb Project CLISP (www.clisp.eu). Geographical data, and particularly the CLPV avalanche register data, were provided by the Avalanche service of the Civil Protection Department of the Province of Bolzano. S. Kass, M. Zebisch and S. Schneiderbauer of the EURAC Institute for Applied Remote Sensing are gratefully acknowledged for technical help and discussion. S. Lermer helped performing some preliminary calculations during his internship at EURAC under the supervision of A. Pistocchi; results obtained in that context inspired parts of the present paper and will be a subject of a dedicated, upcoming contribution. Avalanche data were provided by the Civil Protection Service of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano—Alto Adige (Italy).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GECOsistema srlJenesien/BolzanoItaly
  2. 2.EURAC ResearchBolzanoItaly

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