Determining the drivers for snow gliding
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Snow gliding is a key factor for snow-glide avalanche formation and soil erosion. This study considers atmospheric and snow variables, vegetation characteristics, and soil properties and determines their relevance for snow gliding at a test site (Wildkogel, Upper Pinzgau, Austria) during winter 2014/2015. The time-dependent data were collected at a high temporal resolution. In addition to conventional sensors, a “snow melt analyzer” was used. The analysis shows that the soil temperature 10 cm below the surface, the phytomass of mosses, the liquid water content in the snowpack, and the static friction coefficient of the glide shoes had significant influence on snow gliding during the whole winter. In the first period (October to January) the soil moisture at the surface and 1.5 cm below the surface and the length of the slope uphill of the glide shoes affected the snow gliding, too. In the second period (February to May) the soil temperature at the surface, the soil moisture 10 cm below the surface, and the slope angle had additional influence on snow gliding. The role of the vegetation in the snow-glide process is determined by the influence on the static friction coefficient caused by its composition and characteristics and by mossrich and short-stemmed canopies being seemingly more interconnected with the snowpack. In addition to the soil and snow properties, the topography and the vegetation characteristics, further investigations may be focused on the freezing and melting processes in the uppermost soil layers and at the soil surface.