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Mountain Hazards

Challenges in observation, modelling and prediction of natural hazard processes in mountain regions

Natural hazards such as floods, landslides or rock falls present a threat to human settlements worldwide and in particular in mountain regions with high relief energy. For the assessment of risks and the development of mitigation and coping strategies it is crucial to gain a better understanding of the involved processes and advance methods and tools for their observation and prediction.

Embedded in the setting of the IMC Students4Students Summer School the workshop on natural hazards will focus on topics related to the observation, modeling and forecasting of natural hazard processes ranging from river and surface water flooding to cascade hazards like landslide induced flood waves. Participants of the workshop are encouraged to share their current research work and discuss open research questions with fellow Phd-students and senior researchers. The interdisciplinary character of the workshop will connect students from different fields (geology, hydrology, hydraulics, etc.) and provide a platform to exchange knowledge and share experiences in an inspirational Alpine setting.

Workshop topics

Methods and current challenges in modeling and forecasting of:

  • Dynamics of alpine river systems (flooding, sediment transport, hydro-morphological processes)
  • Cascade effects in natural hazards (e.g. landslide induced flood-waves)
  • Pluvial flash floods / surface water floods (in urban and rural environments)

Measurement and data acquisition techniques:

  • Potential and limitations of different observation techniques for topography and bathymetry
  • In-situ observations / measurements of processes (event documentation, long-term monitoring)
  • Challenges for high steep rock cliff survey

Effects of climate change on natural environment in different regions:

  • Glacier retreat and its effects on slopes stability and sediment budget in the alpine river network
  • Effects of climate change on geological, hydrological, hydraulic and morphodynamic processes

Specific research questions (further questions welcome)

  1. Which measurement and monitoring techniques are available and practicable at high alpine conditions to assess natural hazard processes and to deliver data for modelling?
  2. Which model approaches and simulation tools are currently applied for hydraulic investigations in steep rivers and for flash floods in urban and rural environments? What are the basic differences in model requirements and current methodological limits?
  3. How to analyse and quantify the influence of database & grid resolution on modelling results? Which (model) parameters have to be under specific focus by means of measurements and survey for model calibration compared to others?
  4. Which strategies to deal with pluvial flash flood hazards can be pursued on local, regional and national level?
  5. Can we assess the influence of projected climatic changes on natural hazard processes? Can related uncertainties be quantified?
  6. Which processes are typical triggers and contribute mainly to the appearance of cascade effects in natural hazard processes?
  7. What are basic problems and future challenges in modelling cascade effects of natural hazards in mountain regions?
  8. Is there a need to harmonize the terminology of the involved technical and natural science disciplines when dealing with cascade effects of natural hazards?

Daily Schedule

Will be published when registration of participants is completed.

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