Bret Shandro
M.R.M. research project no. 676, 2017-9. School of Resource and Environmental Management. Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C
Publication year: 2017

While the effect of large-scale climate patterns (e.g., El NiƱo-Southern Oscillation) on winter temperature and precipitation in Western Canada is relatively well understood, little is known regarding the link between climate and avalanche hazard. Previous studies have been hindered by the inconsistent or incomplete avalanche, weather, and snowfall observations. Using avalanche hazard assessments from Avalanche Canada and Parks Canada from the 2009/10 to 2016/17 winter seasons I examined the nature and variability of avalanche hazard and the relationship to large-scale climate patterns. I identify typical avalanche hazard situations and calculate their seasonal prevalence to develop a quantitative measure of the nature of local avalanche hazard conditions. I then use the prevalence values of typical hazard conditions to examine the relationship between climate oscillations and avalanche hazard. This study suggests a relationship between the climate patterns and avalanche hazard situations with a method that is more informative for avalanche risk management.