New report on avalanche warning in Svalbard

Published:

A new report describes the establishment of avalanche warning services in Svalbard from 2015 to 2018.

Red cross observing avalanche debris in Svalbard. Foto: mnskeyser@Regobs.no.

 

Svalbard has an extensive avalanche problem and seven people died in avalanches from 2000 to 2018 and two were killed in 2019. To mitigate the problem, NVEs Norwegian Avalanche Warning Service included public avalanche warnings for Svalbard on Varsom.no in February 2016. To assist evacuations by local authorities, local warnings for Longyearbyen were started as a temporary measure days after the fatal accident in December 2015, when an avalanche hit ten buildings. This report presents the methods, organisation, and experiences associated with establishing the two avalanche warning services on Svalbard. We discuss lessons learned in terms of collaboration, risk management, specific challenges in the Arctic, due to climate changes and the event of an avalanche hitting two buildings in February 2017.

Read the report here.