A large wet snow avalanche cycle in West Greenland quantified using remote sensing and in situ observations

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On 11 April 2016 we observed high slushflow and wet snow avalanche activity at the environmental monitoring station Kobbefjord in W-Greenland. Snow avalanches released as a result of snow wetting induced by rain-on-snow in combination with a strong rise in air temperature. We exploit high-resolution satellite imagery covering pre- and post-event conditions for avalanche quantification and show that nearly 800 avalanches were triggered during this cycle. The nature of this extraordinary event is put into a longer temporal context by analysing several years of meteorological data and time-lapse imagery. We find that no event of similar size has occurred during the past 10 years of intense environmental monitoring in the study area. Meteorological reanalysis data reveal consistent relevant weather patterns for potential rain-on-snow events in the study area being warm fronts from Southwest with orographic lifting processes that triggered heavy precipitation.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftNatural Hazards
Vol/bind97
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)517-534
Antal sider18
ISSN0921-030X
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2019

ID: 241094659