Central Spitsbergen Snow Avalanche Activity 2016-2020

Published: 19-03-2021| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/dv4m9bbn9y.1
Holt Hancock


These data include all individual snow avalanches and the associated daily avalanche activity index for all avalanches observed in Nordenskiöld Land on Spitsbergen, Svalbard, uploaded to the regObs database, and analyzed as a portion of a study investigating the synoptic controls on avalanche activity in this location (reference forthcoming). Data in this dataset were originally obtained from the regObs.no database (www.regobs.no). RegObs is the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate's system for acquiring, storing, and visualizing natural hazards observations in Norway. The data in this dataset were retrieved from regObs using methods contained in the now-deprecated Github repository at https://github.com/ragnarekker/varsomdata, and then manually checked and processed as described in the referenced publication. This dataset was developed and analyzed in a research paper examining the role of synoptic-scale atmospheric circulation patterns in the Nordenskiöld Land region of central Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago (reference forthcoming). This work found synoptic conditions leading to increased precipitation, stronger winds, and increased air temperatures were associated with more observed avalanche activity. The dataset includes avalanches observed during the winter months (December-May) from 1 December 2016 to 31 May 2020. Data are organized in two files. The first, "individual_avalanches.csv") includes the 632 individual avalanches identified in the regObs observations. Data from each avalanche identified is contained in a separate record (632 records). The second, "Daily_activity.csv", includes the daily avalanche activity considered in aggregate for all 729 winter days analyzed in this work. Each winter day is represented by a record (729 records). In addition, the “Daily_activity.csv” file contains the data related to the synoptic type derived from the Niedźwiedź Classification. This is a well-established subjective classification of atmospheric circulation types in the Svalbard region. The full description of the classification provided by Tadeusz Niedźwiedź from University of Silesia in Katowice (Poland) is found in: Niedźwiedź, T.: The atmospheric circulation, in: Climate and Climate Change at Hornsund, Svalbard, edited by: Marsz, A. A., and Styszyńska, A., Gdynia Maritime Univsersity, Gdynia, Poland, 57-74, 2013. These data are a unique dataset included in the analyses of the following publication: Hancock, H., Hendrikx, J., Eckerstorfer, M., and Wickström, S.: Synoptic control on snow avalanche activity in central Spitsbergen, The Cryosphere Discuss., 2021, 1-35, doi:10.5194/tc-2021-48, 2021.


Steps to reproduce

Avalanche observations were originally obtained from the regObs.no using the methods contained in the now-deprecated Github repository at https://github.com/ragnarekker/varsomdata. Further manual processing of the observations is described in (Hancock et al. 2021)