PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2012, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (11): 1529-1536.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2012.11.014

• Original Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A Review of the Progresses of Avalanche Hazards Research

WANG Shijin, REN Jiawen   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Cold and Arid Region Environment and Engineering Research Institute, CAS, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • Received:2012-06-01 Revised:2012-08-01 Online:2012-11-25 Published:2012-11-25

Abstract: With the global warming, the risk of cryospheric avalanche hazards has been gradually increasing, and receives a great deal of attention from the public. There has been significant progress in avalanche research in the fields such as: (1) mechanism of avalanche formation; (2) avalanche path; (3) dynamic simulation; (4) risk assessment and hazard zoning; (5) forecasting and prevention of avalanche hazards. Avalanche research has gone through the changes: (1) from field survey only to combination of field survey and remote sensing; (2) from qualitative and semi-quantitative to quantitative; (3) from empirical estimation to dynamic simulation; (4) from study of avalanche formation to avalanche risk assessment, adaptation and mitigation in the hazardous areas. However, previous studies put more focus on the mechanism of avalanche formation which involves weather, snowpack structure, terrain, etc., and relatively less focus on the vulnerability, exposure, adaptation measures in the hazardous areas. Only when the avalanche initiation areas and the hazardous areas are taken together under a systematic investigation, through early warning, prediction and forecasting, can the hazardous areas be protected against avalanche disaster and the loss of human life and property in the areas be prevented or minimized.

Key words: avalanches, hazards, overview