Glacier Hazards: Online-database on historical glacier disastersEntry ID: UNIZH_GLACIER_HAZARDS
Abstract: The online Glacier Hazards database available from the University of Zurich is
available in german only. Information on historical and recent catastrophic
events can be retrieved according to various search criteria. The events are
primarily sorted by the name of the glacier involved. Particular time periods,
geographic locations, or process magnitudes can be specified as additional
search ... criteria. The database can be searched for specific terms as well. The
search results are displayed on-screen and can be downloaded as csv-text files.
Background of the database:
The database on historical glacier catastrophes has been compiled on the basis
of a variety of sources. The main source were the regular reports on the
fluctuations of Swiss glaciers, formerly known as 'Les Variations périodiques
des Glaciers Suisses'. Summaries are published annually in 'Die Alpen' (Journal
of the Swiss Alpine Club) as well. Other sources frequently used were ancient
records and chronicles, newspaper articles and reports from scientific studies.
Since the mid-1980es, short reports from various parts of the world on glacier
hazards were compiled by the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS in the
volumes 'Fluctuations of Glaciers', ICSI/IAHS/UNEP/UNESCO 1988, 1993, 1998).
Scientifically (and glaciologically) correct interpretation of historical
sources such as records by local, non-scientifically trained people can be a
major challenge and requires sufficient experience in glaciology and history.
In fact, this is a problem that has occasionally emerged when historical
sources have been analyzed in natural sciences.
When transforming the information thus collected into a digital database an
appropriate structure must be found. It should satisfy the requirements of easy
extraction of information and of continuous updating. In the present case,
instructions by the Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests and Landscape
(Buwal, Heiniman et al., 1998) on building up a database on historical hazards
('Ereigniskataster' = event register) were taken into account. The name of the
glacier represents the key attribute. According to the processes involved, a
classification into different events is then made. Further attributes are event
coordinates and date, impact/damage, mitigation measures, sources and a set of
numerical parameters such as water volume and peak discharge of lake outbursts
or break-off volume of ice avalanches.
The variety of sources and of the degree of information on different events
implies a relatively high variation in the database with respect to the
quantity in each category.
(Click for Interactive Map)
Start Date: 2009-09-17Stop Date: 2009-10-15
Email: hmjoo77 at kopri.re.kr
Songdo Techno Park, 7-50, Songdo-dong, Yeonsu-gu
Postal Code: 406-840
Creation and Review Dates
DIF Creation Date: 2012-01-02
Last DIF Revision Date: 2012-06-29