Avert Magazine

Ottawa funds research to support avalanche hazard assessments

January 24, 2023
By Avert staff

Public Safety Canada’s is putting $431,600 towards research at the Université de Sherbrooke that is looking to improve the Canadian Precipitation Analysis (CaPA) system’s snowfall estimations in mountain regions.

The project team plans to add more snowfall information to the CaPA’s algorithm that would better support avalanche hazard assessments.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) developed the CaPA system to provide estimates of 6- and 24-hour precipitation amounts all over Canada using information from numerical weather prediction systems, radars and precipitation gauges.

The researchers will work with ECCC, Parks Canada, Avalanche Canada, Simon Fraser University, the Canadian avalanche community, and provincial governments.


Public Safety Canada’s funding is through its Search and Rescue New Initiatives Fund.

“The best search and rescue operations are the ones that never happen,” Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair said in a news release. “This research project is an investment in prevention and will provide Canadians with better information when they venture into Canada’s backcountry.”

Alexandre Langlois, professor with the Department of Applied Geomatics, Faculty of Literature and Social Sciences at the Université de Sherbrooke, said geomatics tools now allows for spatial-temporal monitoring of mountain snow conditions.

“Such operational monitoring will enable public safety authorities to improve the accuracy and spatial coverage of stability simulations in a territory increasingly frequented by mountain enthusiasts,” he said in a news release.

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