/ RESEARCH / Our winter holidays in ski resorts around the country is imminent and it was a time of year when avalanches are most frequent in Sweden. Meanwhile, a new pan-Nordic three-year EU project under way to better calculate the risks of avalanches and save lives.
- We hope to have better methods to predict snödrev, says Stefan Mårtensson, avalanche researchers at the University.
In conjunction with the Winter Festival at Luleå University of Technology showed avalanche researcher Stefan Mårtensson how - with a shovel hand - calculating avalanches, according to the latest research findings. Luleå University of Technology is a leader in Sweden in avalanche research.
It is during the period February to April, most avalanches affecting sports and alpine plants in Sweden. In particular, it is the off-piste skiers who can get hurt. About one swedish skier every two years is killed in avalanches in our country. Abroad killed some Swedes each year get killed because of avalanches.
- If people knew how bad the snow has strength, they would be more cautious. Snow is a very unreliable material, "says Stefan Mårtensson.
To demonstrate the properties of snow he showed the layer of snow this year. In such layers it is possible to identify different types of snow of winter, all is preserved, layer by layer, like a piece of cake. At the bottom you can see the first snow that fell in November and high above the recent frost. The frost is something that people with avalanche knowledge shun in the avalanche risk. The beautiful frost can cause problems. Hoarfrost a high risk of avalanche danger if it gets windy and the snow has the right consistency.
- New snow does not stick on the ice. It is like trying to glue together wood and iron. Frost layer is also left in the snow layer throughout the winter, "he says.
For an avalanche to start it requires two things, first, some kind of weakness in the snow cover such as ice, and a load on top of the weakness. Typically, the load is dry snow which of course can blow in quantities over a mountain slope. That's why now the new joint Nordic EU research project on avalanches is to better predict such snödrev.
- In order to do that, it is important not only to know if the wind will blow but also to predict if the snow is dry or wet, ie if it can run or not and that they do skillfully in Norway today, "says Stefan Mårtensson.
In addition to the joint Nordic research project avalanche has Environmental Protection Agency and SMHI as recently as last week started with the avalanche forecasts to the public. This is for skiers who move to our mountain facilities and go off-piste, so they can make more reliable assessments of how, when and where they should go