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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-114
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2019-114
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 22 May 2019

Submitted as: research article | 22 May 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

Snow gliding and glide snow avalanches: recent outcomes from two experimental test sites in Aosta Valley (NW Italian Alps)

Margherita Maggioni1,2, Danilo Godone2,3, Barbara Frigo4, and Michele Freppaz1,2 Margherita Maggioni et al.
  • 1DISAFA, University of Torino, Grugliasco (TO), 10095, Italy
  • 2NatRisk, University of Torino, Grugliasco (TO), 10095, Italy
  • 3IRPI, National Research Council, Torino, 10135, Italy
  • 4DISEG, Politecnico of Torino, 10129, Italy

Abstract. Snow gliding and glide snow avalanches are gaining importance among scientists as climate change might induce conditions favourable to those phenomena. Our aim is to analyse such processes with a particular focus on the potential driving factors associated to the soil conditions. We equipped two experimental test sites in Aosta Valley Region (NW-Italy) with glide-snow shoes, temperature and volumetric liquid water content (VLWC) sensors in the soil and in the basal snowpack layer; snow and weather parameters were also collected by automatic weather stations and in manual snow measuring sites. In the two monitoring seasons 2013–14 and 2014–15 we registered 9 glide snow avalanches: 2 cold and 7 warm-temperature events, which were characterized by different snow and soil parameters. In the only warm glide snow avalanche event, which presented a continuous gliding before, the daily glide rate showed a significant exponential relationship with the soil VLWC. We also found, though without a general trend, that gliding and non-gliding periods (either considering warm and cold periods separately or together) were characterized by significantly different predisposing factors. This study contributes to assess the importance of soil VLWC, which seems to be one of the most important driving factors for gliding processes. Therefore, it supports the need, already suggested by other scientists, of analysing such processes with an interdisciplinary approach which integrates snow and soil sciences.

Margherita Maggioni et al.
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Margherita Maggioni et al.
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