Elucidating Snow Heights for Avalanche Assessment from Automated Data Processing from UAS and New Winter Hazards Station

PI: Billy Connor (UAF), bgconnor@alaska.edu, ORCID: 0000-0002-4289-2620

Co PIs: none

AMOUNT & MATCH: $60,000 from PacTrans; $60,000 Match

PERFORMANCE PERIOD: 3/16/2021 – 3/15/2022

STATUS: Active

CATEGORIES: Avalanche, Weather Station, Mitigation



FINAL PROJECT REPORT: will be available once completed

PROJECT DATA: will be available once completed

DESCRIPTION: The redistribution of snow by blowing snow is a significant force in creating avalanche conditions and generating snowdrifts on the Atigun Pass Road. We aim to create two new tools to optimize the effort in keeping the road free of snow. The first tool applies UAS (unmanned aircraft system) in conjunction with in-house developed software to elucidate snow surface height (digital elevation models). The software will keep track of hazardous snow features such as a hanging cornice or how much snow loaded is in a gully above a road. The second tool is a new Winter Hazard Station (WHZ). We placed the WHZ near the pass, close to the brunt of peak wind conditions—the WHZ measures; local meteorological conditions, direct blowing snow, and sampling through delayed-camera views. The WHZ will routinely push the data to the M&O station via a radio link. WHZ data will also be digested automatically in conjunction with the UAS generated snow-height maps to better understand the force of blowing snow in the region and develop forecasting tools.

Research Project Progress Report #1 10/10/2021
No Cost Extension Request 1/15/2022
Draft Report 1/15/2022
Final Project Report 3/15/2022