Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2021-106
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2021-106

  26 Apr 2021

26 Apr 2021

Review status: this preprint was under review for the journal NHESS but the revision was not accepted.

A data efficient machine learning model for autonomous operational avalanche forecasting

Manesh Chawla1 and Amreek Singh2 Manesh Chawla and Amreek Singh
  • 1Defence Geo-Informatics Research Establishment, Manali - 175103, India
  • 2Defence Geo-Informatics Research Establishment, Chandigarh - 160037, India

Abstract. Snow avalanches pose serious hazard to people and property in snow bound mountains. Snow mass sliding downslope can gain sufficient momentum to destroy buildings, uproot trees and kill people. Forecasting and in turn avoiding exposure to avalanches is a much practiced measure to mitigate hazard world over. However, sufficient snow stability data for accurate forecasting is generally difficult to collect. Hence forecasters infer snow stability largely through intuitive reasoning based upon their knowledge of local weather, terrain and sparsely available snowpack observations. Machine learning models may add more objectivity to this intuitive inference process. In this paper we propose a data efficient machine learning classifier using the technique of Random Forest. The model can be trained with significantly lesser training data compared to other avalanche forecasting models and it generates useful outputs to minimise and quantify uncertainty. Besides, the model generates intricate reasoning descriptions which are difficult to observe manually. Furthermore, the model data requirement can be met through automatic systems. The proposed model advances the field by being inexpensive and convenient for operational use due to its data efficiency and ability to describe its decisions besides the potential of lending autonomy to the process.

Manesh Chawla and Amreek Singh

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Status: closed

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Manesh Chawla and Amreek Singh

Manesh Chawla and Amreek Singh

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Short summary
Avalanche forecasting using machine learning models requires extensive past records of snow and avalanches. Such records maybe unavailable in several regions. In this paper we use Random Forest model for avalanche forecasting. The model requires significantly lesser past data than other published models to achieve a reasonable forecasting performance. Additionally the model gives valuable reasoning descriptions which are difficult to observe manually.
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