A Bayesian probabilistic framework for avalanche modelling based on observations

Daniel Straub, Adrienne Grêt-Regamey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Applied avalanche models are based on parameters which cannot be measured directly. As a consequence, these models are associated with large uncertainties, which must be addressed in risk assessment. To this end, we present an integral probabilistic framework for the modelling of avalanche hazards. The framework is based on a deterministic dynamic avalanche model, which is combined with an explicit representation of the different parameter uncertainties. The probability distribution of these uncertainties is then determined from observations of avalanches in the area under investigation through Bayesian inference. This framework facilitates the consistent combination of physical and empirical avalanche models with the available observations and expert knowledge. The resulting probabilistic spatial model can serve as a basis for hazard maping and spatial risk assessment. In this paper, the new model is applied to a case study in a test area located in the Swiss Alps.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-203
Number of pages12
JournalCold Regions Science and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Avalanches
  • Bayesian analysis
  • Land-use planning
  • Natural hazards
  • Risk assessment
  • Uncertainty modelling


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