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Volume 18, issue 7 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 1891-1903, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-18-1891-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 10 Jul 2018

Research article | 10 Jul 2018

Determining the drivers for snow gliding

Reinhard Fromm1, Sonja Baumgärtner2, Georg Leitinger2, Erich Tasser3, and Peter Höller1 Reinhard Fromm et al.
  • 1Federal Research and Training Centre for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape – BFW, Department of Natural Hazards, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
  • 2Department of Ecology, University of Innsbruck, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
  • 3Institute for Alpine Environment, Eurac Research, 39100 Bozen, Italy

Abstract. Snow gliding is a key factor for snow-glide avalanche formation and soil erosion. This study considers atmospheric and snow variables, vegetation characteristics, and soil properties and determines their relevance for snow gliding at a test site (Wildkogel, Upper Pinzgau, Austria) during winter 2014/2015. The time-dependent data were collected at a high temporal resolution. In addition to conventional sensors, a snow melt analyzer was used.

The analysis shows that the soil temperature 10cm below the surface, the phytomass of mosses, the liquid water content in the snowpack, and the static friction coefficient of the glide shoes had significant influence on snow gliding during the whole winter. In the first period (October to January) the soil moisture at the surface and 1.5cm below the surface and the length of the slope uphill of the glide shoes affected the snow gliding, too. In the second period (February to May) the soil temperature at the surface, the soil moisture 10cm below the surface, and the slope angle had additional influence on snow gliding.

The role of the vegetation in the snow-glide process is determined by the influence on the static friction coefficient caused by its composition and characteristics and by moss-rich and short-stemmed canopies being seemingly more interconnected with the snowpack.

In addition to the soil and snow properties, the topography and the vegetation characteristics, further investigations may be focused on the freezing and melting processes in the uppermost soil layers and at the soil surface.

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Snow gliding is a key factor for snow glide avalanche formation and soil erosion. This study considers atmospheric and snow variables, vegetation characteristics, and soil properties, and determines their relevance for snow gliding. The soil moisture, the soil temperature, the liquid water content of snow, the phytomass of mosses, and the friction coefficient have major influence. However, further investigations may be focused on the freezing and melting processes in the uppermost soil layers.
Snow gliding is a key factor for snow glide avalanche formation and soil erosion. This study...
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