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Dangerous Snow Avalanches


Monitoring of Dangerous Snow Avalanches in Kyrgyz Republic and Engineering Methods of Protection

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-EHS/Environmental Health and Safety/Environment
  • ENV-MIN/Monitoring and Instrumentation/Environment
  • ENV-MRA/Modelling and Risk Assessment/Environment

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Kyrgyz Scientific and Design Construction Institute, Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek

Supporting institutes

  • Jalalabat State University, Kyrgyzstan, Jalalabat


  • Universität für Bodenkultur / Institut fuer Alpine Natergefahren, Austria, Vienna

Project summary

The goal of the project is to monitor the development of dangerous snow avalanches in Kyrgyz Republic and develop engineering methods of protection of nature, buildings and architectural structures, and strategically important means of communication.

The Kyrgyz Republic is rich in natural resources, which can be developed by means of various explorations and activities. Construction of highways, industrial enterprises, power transmission lines and their exploitation became extremely complicated due to wide spread of snow loads. Sometimes neglect of avalanche risks leads to unwanted material losses, accidents and human fatalities. The avalanche consequences place the need to explore the conditions under which avalanches form, their terrain and methods of avalanche-prevention.

The territory of the Kyrgyz Republic is largely mountainous. Three quarters of 199,6 thousand square meters – which is the total area of the republic – are at the 1500 meters above the sea level; and less than half of it is at the 3000 meters above the sea level. Fifty three percent of the total territory is an avalanche-risk area.

Mountains in Kyrgyzstan form long and wide ranges. However, certain ranges like Kakshaal, Fergana and Chatkal and several others do not have wide length and stretch towards north-west or south-west.

Majority of mountains is covered with non-melting snow and glaciers. Generally, the landscape in Kyrgyz Republic is complex and has a variety of forms caused by mountain-forming processes and intensive soil erosion that, in their turn, affect changes in the landscape. Consequently, the processes of avalanche formation and fall – that result from the interaction between geomorphologic and climatic factors - take place differently in different regions.

The avalanche-prevention centre that existed under the Soviet system does not function any longer.

The high dangerous of snow avalanches in the mountains complicate construction and exploitation of highways, power transmission lines, industrial and agricultural enterprises, and impedes utilization of winter pastures. In this connection, the project proposes development of a situational map of avalanche-risk areas and avalanche-predicting measures.

The project includes an evaluation of avalanche effects on environment, buildings and constructions. It also includes a detailed analysis of dangerous snow avalanches to consider it in ensuring the safety of vital functions.

These circumstances place an urgent need for research, consideration of new extreme situations and carrying out engineering activities to prevent natural disasters.

Project participants have significant experiences in exploring the avalanche effects on buildings and constructions, avalanche models, information technologies, development of a map of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), monitoring of ecological accidents, exploration to identify avalanche risk areas in the republic.

The project proposes conducting research to develop a method of predicting avalanche falls by means on monitoring. Based on the developments, the avalanche service issues precautions about the avalanche risks across the republic and local prognosis on the most avalanche-prone areas. The project plans to develop: the map of snow avalanches in the Kyrgyz Republic; monitoring methodologies for emergency prevention; recommendations on the development of engineering methods of protection; undertaking measures for maintaining of the snow-retention structures; regulatory and technical documents on avalanche-prevention measures.

The project lies within a category of applied research. Research activity of the project is concentrated on developing avalanche-prevention measures, preservation of the environment, protection of ecological and economic interests of people, prevention of hazards and human fatalities, reduction of possible heavy avalanche-born damages.

The project will involve researchers and specialists experienced in weapon activities.

The proposed project activity sets six primary goals that reflect main stages of project implementation:

  1. The analysis of avalanches and their consequences on the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic;
  2. Description of snow layers and avalanche formation in the Kyrgyz Republic.
  3. Evaluation of the effect of snow avalanches on buildings and constructions, auto roads and railways;
  4. Snow avalanche modeling and development of new monitoring methods;
  5. Development of engineering method of protection of snow avalanches;
  6. Development of recommendations and regulatory documents on use of snow avalanches;
  7. Creation of a centre for modeling of snow avalanches and avalanche-prediction measures

According to the range of activities determined by the International Scientific-Technical Centre (ISTC), the project envisages the participation of foreign collaborators. Collaborators will provide comments on technical reports, will exchange information, inspect the results of work, participate in modeling of avalanches, in testing of monitoring methods, in project workshops, in examining the project activities, and render assistance and support to other project participants, and issue joint publications.

The project will involve existing methods of avalanche prediction; modeling of avalanche effect on buildings and constructions, information technologies, mathematical models of seismic movement of the ground; a map of seismic movements across regions; ecological model of environmental processes; reoccurrence of earthquakes and their possible centers; methods of testing buildings and constructions against the effects of external forces.

The project will produce a model of dangerous snow avalanches, methodology for dangerous snow avalanche modeling, new methods of monitoring, engineering methods of avalanche prevention, regulatory documents on the development of engineering measures of protection and utilization of avalanche-risk areas, a basis for the centre for modeling of snow avalanches and avalanche prevention.

Avalanche-prevention measures in partly-known or unknown areas will focus on examining the modes and ranges of avalanche movements from the helicopter or by using ground-based methods of observation.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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