Snow and Avalanche Research

Snow and Avalanche Research

avalanche start zoneAvalanche Studies SITE UNDER CONSTRUCTION
An analysis of natural snow avalanche hazards and their impacts to infrastructure and ecosystems in Glacier National Park as well as an adjacent highway and railroad corridors. Ongoing studies of natural avalanches reveal connections with large-scale climate and wildfire patterns.

The Flattop Mountain SNOTEL Site
The Flattop Mountain SNOTEL site provides valuable data for estimating water content in the drainage as well as being used in conjunction with other avalanche forecasting techniques to assist Glacier National Park's road crew in their spring plowing efforts. The annual summary graphs are also popular with high country enthusiasts who want to compare snowpack between years.

Snowpack Analysis of Chemical Loading in Glacier National Park
Analysis of atmospheric deposition in alpine and sub-alpine snowpack in glacier National Park. The steep elevational and climatic gradients that characterize this region make mountain ecosystems especially vulnerable to potential climate change which could drive large alterations in nutrient pulses affecting natural resources.

Natural Hazards of Spring Opening of Going to the Sun Road
The correlation between Flattop Mountain snow water equivalent on Logan Pass opening day and the timing of opening day indicates that detailed investigation of the relationship between snowpack characteristics and road opening may assist Glacier National Park managers in identifying influential and hazardous conditions.

Going-to-the-Sun Road Avalanche Forecasting Program
In 2002, Glacier National Park instituted its first formal avalanche hazard forecasting program for snow removal operations. In addition to forecasting, the program also provides real-time snow safety and has increased avalanche awareness among equipment operators through regular avalanche safety training.

Going-to-the-Sun Road Avalanche Atlas. (15MB pdf)
USGS researchers reveal the first avalanche atlas for the Going-to-the-Sun Road (GTSR) in Glacier National Park. View Video