Analysis of a spontaneous avalanche event based on the observations of the Long-Term Ecological Research network in Matsch, Südtirol, Italy
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Identifying the precise timing and the meteorological conditions of natural avalanches is important for avalanche triggering prediction. However, it is not so common to have meteorological records in locations close to avalanches. In the framework of the LTER (Long-Term Ecological Research) network, in Matsch/Mazia valley (South Tyrol, Italy), a dense network of microclimate stations for environmental monitoring and for ecological studies has been installed. In this catchment, the winter 2017-2018 was characterized by above-average snowfall. We focus on an event occurred on the January 4th 2018, when several spontaneous avalanches were released near a station, which registered meteorological parameters before and during the event. Moreover, close to the station every winter snow profiles are determined, to calibrate snow height and precipitation sensors. This presentation shows how the collected weather data allow identifying the time and meteorological conditions of this spontaneous avalanches release. Moreover, snow profiles and simulations using the SNOWPACK model were performed, to better investigate the snow layers characteristics and snow properties.We found good agreement (R2 = 0.92 for snow depth) between SNOWPACK simulations and observations. Results suggest that the avalanche was likely caused by snow overload and a loss of cohesion due to rapid temperature increase. The obtained data show the value of micrometeorological observations to monitor natural avalanche release conditions.