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Volume 11, issue 7 | Copyright
Geosci. Model Dev., 11, 2923-2939, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Model description paper 23 Jul 2018

Model description paper | 23 Jul 2018

faSavageHutterFOAM 1.0: depth-integrated simulation of dense snow avalanches on natural terrain with OpenFOAM

Matthias Rauter1,2,3, Andreas Kofler2, Andreas Huber4, and Wolfgang Fellin1 Matthias Rauter et al.
  • 1Division of Geotechnical and Tunnel Engineering, Institute of Infrastructure, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
  • 2Department of Natural Hazards, Austrian Research Centre for Forests (BFW), Innsbruck, Austria
  • 3Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, Oslo, Norway
  • 4Division of Hydraulic Engineering, Institute of Infrastructure, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria

Abstract. Numerical models for dense snow avalanches have become central to hazard zone mapping and mitigation. Several commercial and free applications, which are used on a regular basis, implement such models. In this study we present a tool based on the open-source toolkit OpenFOAM® as an alternative to the established solutions. The proposed tool implements a depth-integrated shallow flow model in accordance with current practice. The solver combines advantages of the extensive OpenFOAM infrastructure with popular models from the avalanche community. OpenFOAM allows assembling custom physical models with built-in primitives and implements the numerical solution at a high level. OpenFOAM supports an extendable solver structure, making the tool well-suited for future developments and rapid prototyping. We introduce the basic solver, implementing an incompressible, single-phase model for natural terrain, including entrainment. The respective workflow, consisting of meshing, pre-processing, numerical solution and post-processing, is presented. We demonstrate data transfer from and to a geographic information system (GIS) to allow a simple application in practice. The tool chain is based entirely on open-source applications and libraries and can be easily customised and extended. Simulation results for a well-documented avalanche event are presented and compared to previous numerical studies and historical data.

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Short summary
We present a physical model for the simulation of dense snow avalanches and other gravitational mass flows. The model is solved with OpenFOAM, a popular open-source toolkit for the numerical solution of partial differential equations. The solver has a modular design and is easy to extend. Therefore, it represents an ideal platform for implementing and testing new model approaches.
We present a physical model for the simulation of dense snow avalanches and other gravitational...