Articles | Volume 14, issue 9
Research article
 | Highlight paper
11 Sep 2018
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 11 Sep 2018

Wet avalanches: long-term evolution in the Western Alps under climate and human forcing

Laurent Fouinat, Pierre Sabatier, Fernand David, Xavier Montet, Philippe Schoeneich, Eric Chaumillon, Jérôme Poulenard, and Fabien Arnaud

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Cited articles

Ancey, C. and Bain, V.: Dynamics of glide avalanches and snow gliding: Glide avlanches and snow gliding, Rev. Geophys., 53, 745–784,, 2015.
Arnaud, F., Lignier, V., Revel, M., Desmet, M., Beck, C., Pourchet, M., Charlet, F., Trentesaux, A., and Tribovillard, N.: Flood and earthquake disturbance of 210Pb geochronology (Lake Anterne, NW Alps), Terra Nova, 14, 225–232, 2002.
Baggi, S. and Schweizer, J.: Characteristics of wet-snow avalanche activity: 20 years of observations from a high alpine valley (Dischma, Switzerland), Nat. Hazards, 50, 97–108, 2009.
Billeaud, I., Chaumillon, E., and Weber, O.: Evidence of a major environmental change recorded in a macrotidal bay (Marennes-Oléron Bay, France) by correlation between VHR seismic profiles and cores, Geo-Mar. Lett., 25, 1–10, 2005.
Blaauw, M.: Methods and code for “classical” age-modelling of radiocarbon sequences, Quat. Geochronol., 5, 512–518,, 2010.
Short summary
In the context of a warming climate, mountain environments are especially vulnerable to a change in the risk pattern. Our study focuses on the past evolution of wet avalanches, likely triggered by warmer temperatures destabilizing the snow cover. In the last 3300 years we observed an increase of wet avalanche occurrence related to human activities, intensifying pressure on forest cover, as well as favorable climate conditions such as warmer temperatures coinciding with retreating glacier phases.