- Start date: 1 February 2019
- End date: 31 July 2020
- Funder: Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE)
- Value: £16,680
- Primary investigator: Dr Antonio Abellan
The observed increase in the rate and severity of mass movements in mountainous areas all over the world has been interpreted as a signal of permafrost degradation due to global warming: a trend that is expected to accelerate over the next several decades due to anthropogenic climate change. Rising mean temperatures at the planetary scale combined with rising frequency of regional and local-scale extreme heatwaves over the next decades both have a tremendous impact on cryosphere-related hazards. High-mountain instabilities are controlled both by a progressive strength reduction -associated with permafrost degradation- and a seasonally intermittent water flow through deep fractures.
It is anticipated that this project will have a tangible impact on risk management strategies in the forecasting of mass movements in high-mountain areas. The outputs of this research will be used for decision making on slope failure risk during crises based on joint efforts from risk management stakeholders in Norway and academics in the UK and Norway. The outputs of this investigation will not only be transferrable to other rock slope failures in permafrost settings, but also constitute the basis of a new generation of Early Warning Systems.