Strategies and tools for a systematic hazard assessment in glacial and periglacial alpine areas, in a contest of climate change

Bertotto S., Fioraso G., Giardino M., Nigrelli G., Perotti L., Sanchez Palomo E., Chiarle M., 2011, Strategies and tools for a systematic hazard assessment in glacial and periglacial alpine areas, in a contest of climate change, 15th Alpine Glaciology Meeting, Monaco, 24-25 Febbraio 2011,

Glacial and periglacial areas evolve quickly in relation to climate variations, because of the morphogenetic action produced by advancing and receding glaciers. As a consequence, ongoing climate change is heavily impacting the stability of high altitude environments. Main effects are a reduced stability of rock slopes and moraines, growth of glacial lakes, outcrop of large quantities of unconsolidated and unvegetated glacial sediments, which can lead to ice and rock falls and avalanches, glacial outburst floods and debris flows. In this context, the Alcotra 2007-2013 project n.56 GlaRiskAlp (Glacial Risks in Western Alps) has been promoted. Its focus is on past, present and potential instability phenomena in glacial and periglacial areas of Western Alps. The present contribution aims to illustrate objectives and methodologies of the project, with specific reference to activities carried out in the Piedmont Region. The areas considered in this study are the main mountain groups of Marittime Alps (Clapièr, Corburant, Argentera), Cozie Alps (Monviso, Ambin) and Graie Alps(Rocciamelone, Levanne, and Piedmont side of Gran Paradiso). Problems and proposed methodological and technological solutions will be discussed. For this study, traditional investigation techniques along with well-established and innovative geomatic technologies have been used. The project is articulated in several steps.First of all, a digital cadastre of glaciers and periglacial areas will be realised; then existent databases of instability phenomena (i.e. GlacioRisk, PermaDataRoc) will be implemented , to identify sensitive areas that could generate, in medium and short time, instability phenomenas. The CNR-IRPI contribution to the project, is_ 1) a regional study of localisation and characterisation of glacial and periglacial areas, aimed to point out instability prone areas and typologies of expected natural instabilities; 2) a close examination of some sites, chosen according to problems and critical situations found in the previous phase of the work. Both phases of the study will allow to compare and test different methodological and technological approaches. The results of the project will improve and enrich knowledges about the impact of climate change in high mountains and also supply methodologies for studying and monitoring alpine glacial and periglacial areas. Outcomes of this work will help public administrations to manage natural hazard assessment related to climate change.

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