Title Reconstructing snow avalanches in the southeastern Pyrenees
Author Muntán, E.; García, C.; Oller, P.; Martí, G.; García, A.; Gutiérrez, E.
Author Affil Muntán, E., University of Barcelona, Department of Ecology, Barcelona, Spain. Other: Geological Institute of Catalonia, Spain
Source Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS), 9(5), p.1599-1612, . Publisher: Copernicus GmbH on behalf of the European Geophysical Society, Katlenburg- Lindau, Germany. ISSN: 1561- 8633
Publication Date 2009
Notes In English. Part of special issue no. 76, Tree-ring reconstructions in natural hazards research, edited by Stoffel, M., and Bollschweiler, M., http://www.nat-hazards- earth-syst-sci.net/special_issue76.html; accessed in Sept., 2010. 31 refs. GeoRef Acc. No: 309766
Index Terms advection; Alpine landscapes; atmospheric circulation; avalanches; mass movements (geology); snow; trees (plants); vegetation; Spain--Catalonia; Pyrenees; alpine environment; Catalonia Spain; COFECHA; Europe; geologic hazards; Iberian Peninsula; land use; mass movements; natural hazards; planning; risk assessment; southeastern Pyrenees; Southern Europe; Spain; spatial distribution; subalpine environment; terrestrial environment; tree rings; trees
Abstract A regional study of snow avalanche processes was undertaken in the SE Pyrenees. Dendrogeomorphology was used to date and reconstruct large-scale snow avalanche events that occurred in the last four decades. Dendrochronological analyses yielded the dates of nine winters when avalanches occurred in the recent past in six studied avalanche paths. Some of these avalanches were already known, but others had not been documented. In one case, the existing avalanche path map was improved with the dendrogeomorphological information of a larger past event. As a result of the dendrogeomorphological analyses, evidence for three regional-scale major avalanche years was identified in the SE Pyrenees from 1971 to 2004: 1971-1972, 1995-1996 and 2002-2003. The specific synoptic atmospheric situations and the most likely nivometeorological and snowpack conditions that released these major avalanches were determined using weather data for the seasons of major avalanche releases. In 1971-1972 the snow avalanche episode was characterized by a deep trough crossing the Pyrenees. In 1995-1996 a variety of meteorological situations produced several episodes of major avalanches. In 2002-2003 the more significant of two episodes was attributed to a north advection pumping an arctic air mass over the Pyrenees. The 1995- 1996 avalanche season proved to be the most notable in the four past decades in the Pyrenees.
URL http://hdl.handle.net/10.5194/nhess-9-1599-2009
Publication Type journal article
Record ID 65006346