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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  26 Mar 2020

26 Mar 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Role of friction terms in two-dimensional modelling of dense snow avalanches

Marcos Sanz-Ramos1, Ernest Bladé1, Pere Oller2, Carlos A. Andrade3, and Glòria Furdada4 Marcos Sanz-Ramos et al.
  • 1Institut Flumen, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya-CIMNE, Barcelona, 08034, Spain
  • 2GeoNeuRisk, 08024, Barcelona, Spain
  • 3Departamento de Geología, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, 8370450, Chile
  • 4Departament de Geodinàmica Extrema, Universitat de Barcelona, 08028, Barcelona, Spain

Abstract. Voellmy–Salm friction model is one of the most extensively used theories for assessing the frictional terms of the equations that describe the motion of non-Newtonian flows such as snow avalanches. Based on the Coulomb- and turbulent-type friction, this model has been implemented in numerical tools for computation of snow avalanche dynamics based on the Shallow Water Equations (SWE). The range of the Voellmy parameters has been discussed widely, focusing mainly on the required values for achieving good results for the description of the moment and position of the avalanche when it stops. However, effects of parameters on the SWE terms, and their physical interpretation have not been investigated sufficiently. This work focuses on analysing the effects of the Voellmy–Salm parameters and cohesion on the avalanche characteristics and evolution of the new SWE-based numerical model Iber. In the numerical scheme, an upwind discretization was used for the solid friction and cohesion terms, while a centred one was used for the turbulent friction. Results show that the Voellmy–Salm model dominates the avalanche dynamics and the cohesion model allows the representation of long tails, whereas the friction and cohesion parameters may vary within a wide range.

Marcos Sanz-Ramos et al.

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Marcos Sanz-Ramos et al.

Marcos Sanz-Ramos et al.


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Latest update: 17 Sep 2020
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Dense snow avalanche propagation and deposition can be modelled using similar equations than for water motion changing the friction terms. Due to that, the avalanche tends to have a fluid-like behaviour. Thus, these equations must be properly balanced in order to avoid this behaviour, also including nonhydrostatic pressure and specific numerical techniques to stop the avalanche without any nonphysically based assumption. These improvements could help in a better snow avalanche modelling.
Dense snow avalanche propagation and deposition can be modelled using similar equations than for...