EU Contract no. EVG1-CT2002-00059


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  The SATSIE project is part of the EU [http://europa.eu.int/] 5th framework scientific programme for energy, environment and sustainable development [http://www.cordis.lu/eesd/].

Project context:
  • Snow avalanches are a serious problem in the Alps, in the Norwegian mountains, in several inhabited areas of Iceland, in the Pyrenees and near the Black Sea coast of Turkey.
  • Winter tourism is an important and growing economic sector that is strongly susceptible to avalanche danger. Annually, 20 million winter tourists contribute some 20-30 billion Euros to the Gross National Products of the Alpine countries.
  • Transalpine traffic, which is still very vulnerable to avalanche danger, is of similar importance and directly or indirectly affects the majority of Europeans. Avalanche-induced damage may reach 1 billion Euros during a severe winter, not counting the loss of human lives.
Project aims:
  • SATSIE will contribute to European economic development and to the EU policies aiming at sustainable development by creating tools for increasing public safety in avalanche-prone areas.
  • An adequate level of avalanche safety is prerequisite to further development of the mountain regions as habitable areas, prime destinations of tourism, and the critical segments of some of the most important European traffic routes.
  • It is vital to perform this work at a European scale in order to share know-how and make maximum use of the large cost of operating full-scale experimental sites.
Scientific objectives and approach:
  • The scientific focus of SATSIE is on understanding the physical mechanisms that determine the flow regime, the snow entrainment rate and the interaction of avalanches with obstacles.
  • To this end, laboratory and full-scale experiments with novel sensors (to be developed in the project) will be conducted in two experimental chutes, and at NGIís full-scale test site at Ryggfonn in western Norway (equipped with a retention dam) and at a deflecting dam in Flateyri, Iceland.
  • This knowledge will be used to develop and validate mathematical models of avalanche flow that take into account the rheological properties of avalanching snow as well as mass transfer between the snow cover and the flowing snow.
  • The full-scale measurements will also be used to validate new models for avalanche dam interaction from the EU project CADZIE, to be summarised in a handbook on protection dam design.

  • For further details about the experimental sites, please click on a [link] below.

  • French flag France[ Col du Lac Blanc ]
    Icelandic flag Iceland[ Flateyri ]
    Italian flag Italy[ Pavia chutes ]
    Norwegian flag Norway[ Ryggfonn ]
Expected impacts:
  • By developing and disseminating physically sound numerical models for avalanche motion and handbooks on computer-assisted avalanche mapping and protection-dam design, SATSIE will improve the quality and accuracy of land-use planning in endangered areas and long-term avalanche protection in general.
  • The concerted research, development and teaching effort of most European institutions engaged in avalanche research is expected to lead to a wide consensus on best practice in this field and to foster convergence of the different national standards for hazard-mapping procedures and avalanche safety.
  • The development of affordable radar devices for monitoring the snow-cover evolution and avalanche motion will pave the road towards widespread use of alarm systems along endangered traffic routes.
More detailed information:
  • Please follow the links below for more detailed information on various aspects of the project.
- Current knowledge- More precise scientific objectives- Project meeting pages

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