Articles | Volume 2, issue 3/4
31 Dec 2002
31 Dec 2002

Observations and modelling of snow avalanche entrainment

B. Sovilla and P. Bartelt

Abstract. In this paper full scale avalanche dynamics measurements from the Italian Pizzac and Swiss Vallée de la Sionne test sites are used to develop a snowcover entrainment model. A detailed analysis of three avalanche events shows that snowcover entrainment at the avalanche front appears to dominate over bed erosion at the basal sliding surface. Furthermore, the distribution of mass within the avalanche body is primarily a function of basal friction. We show that the mass distribution in the avalanche changes the flow dynamics significantly. Two different dynamical models, the Swiss Voellmy-fluid model and the Norwegian NIS model, are used to back calculate the events. Various entrainment methods are investigated and compared to measurements. We demon-strate that the Norwegian NIS model is clearly better able to simulate the events once snow entrainment has been included in the simulations.