Expanding the concept of avalanche climate: Detailed insights into the nature and variability of avalanche hazard in Western Canada between 2009/10 and 2016/17
Different snowpack structures and weather conditions create distinct types of avalanche problems that require different risk mitigation practices. In North America, nine types of avalanche problems have been identified in the recently introduced Conceptual Model of Avalanche Hazard (CMAH). Avalanche Canada and Parks Canada forecasters have identified and assessed avalanche problems according to the CMAH daily since the winter 2009/10. This dataset provides a unique opportunity for examining the nature of avalanche hazard in western Canada. In this first study, we explore the prevalence of the different avalanche problem types and examine their characteristics. Our analyses of the regional and seasonal variability provide valuable insights on the patterns of avalanche hazard in western Canada. The results of this study will strengthen our understanding of the CMAH and represent an important stepping-stone for future investigations and the development of practical tools to improve the forecasting capabilities at Avalanche Canada and their partner organizations.