13 Feb 2024
 | 13 Feb 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

OpenFOAM-avalanche 2312: Depth-integrated Models Beyond Dense Flow Avalanches

Matthias Rauter and Julia Kowalski

Abstract. Numerical simulations have become an important tool for the estimation and mitigation of gravitational mass flows, such as avalanches, landslides, pyroclastic flows or turbidity currents. Depth-integration stands as a pivotal concept in rendering numerical models applicable to real-world scenarios, as it provides the required efficiency and a streamlined workflow for geographic information systems. In recent years, a large number of flow models were developed following the idea of depth-integration, thereby enlarging the applicability and reliability of this family of process models substantially. It has been previously shown that the Finite Area Method of OpenFOAM® can be utilized to express and solve the basic depth-integrated models representing incompressible dense flows. In this manuscript, the previous work (Rauter et al., 2018) is extended beyond the dense flow regime to account for suspended particle flows, such as turbidity currents and powder snow avalanches. A novel coupling mechanism is introduced to enhance the simulation capabilities for mixed snow avalanches. Further, we will give an updated description of the revised computational framework, its integration into OpenFOAM and interfaces to geographic information systems. This work aims to provide practitioners and scientists with an open source tool that facilitates transparency and reproducibility and that can be easily applied to real world scenarios. The tool can be used as a baseline for further developments and in particular allows for modular integration of customized process models.

Matthias Rauter and Julia Kowalski

Status: open (until 09 Apr 2024)

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Matthias Rauter and Julia Kowalski
Matthias Rauter and Julia Kowalski


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Short summary
Snow avalanches can form large powder clouds that substantially exceed the velocity and reach of the dense core. Only a few and complex models exist to simulate this phenomenon, and the respective hazard is hard to predict. This work provides a novel flow model that focuses on simple relations while still encapsulating the significant behaviour. The model is applied to reconstruct two catastrophic powder snow avalanche events in Austria.