Biodiversity Landscape Development Management of Natural Hazards Natural Resources Forest Ecosystems
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Research Group Snow Cover and Micrometeorology
Snow is a form of water and originates from the atmosphere. The atmosphere determines, where the snow is deposited, whether and how long it stays and how it changes with time. On the other hand, there is a strong feed-back of snow on the atmospheric boundary layer. These interactions are investigated in detail with a particular focus on the situation in mountains. Scientific progress is aimed for in the fields of avalanche warning, climatology and meteorology as well as diverse engineering applications.
The group develops numerical models, which are used in research and applications. Among the best known model packages are the snow cover model SNOWPACK and Alpine3D, the latter having been developed to allow a detailed description of relevant surface processes in mountains. Alpine3D treats snow transport, energy balance, snow, soil and vegetation. It is particularly useful for investigating hydrological and climatological problems in research. SNOWPACK is an operational model used for avalanche warning in Switzerland and in neighbouring countries. The model work is based on knowledge created from experimental facilities in the field and the laboratory. The group operates some experimental sites and catchments in the Davos area and a cold wind tunnel in the Flüela valley. The group is also engaged in deploying the latest technology to bring environmental observation to the next level (SwissEx).