(Interreg IV project, ALCOTRA) - January 2010 to January 2013

Since the mid-1980s, glaciers have been marked by a continuous reduction in surface area and volume. This process, which has accelerated with current climatic conditions, has numerous effects on high-altitude environments, in particular on the stability of glacial and periglacial environments, and therefore on land-use conditions in Alpine regions. In Valle d'Aosta, for example, where glaciers occupy almost 5% of the territory (around 135km2 in 2005, according to the Inventaire des glaciers de la Région Autonome Vallée d'Aoste), glacier retreat was around 30km2 from 1975 to 1999, then 18km2 from 1999 to 2005. This extension of deglaciated areas is profoundly altering geomorphological dynamics in the high mountains, but also in watersheds and valley bottoms. Numerous human activities and infrastructures (tourism, buildings, refuges, hiking trails, ski lifts, etc.) are consequently strongly affected by current and recent glacier dynamics, both in the high mountains and in the valleys. In order to enable rational land-use planning and improve risk management in the Alps, it is essential to take better account of these phenomena, and this means improving our knowledge of the issues. To this end, the GlaRiskAlp project involves two types of technical and scientific activities: a regional study of the Western Alps, to identify potential hazards in glaciated and recently de-glaciated areas; and several local studies of pilot sites characterized by recognized risk situations, aimed at acquiring in-depth knowledge of risk-generating processes and improving methods for measuring and monitoring these processes.

The GlaRiskAlp project brings together 7 partners:

  • FMS (Fondazione Montagna Sicura)
  • Arpa Vda (Agenzia Regionale per la Protezione dell'Ambiente, Valle d'Aosta)
  • Cnr-IRPI (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Ricerca per laProtezione Idrogeologica)
  • EDYTEM (Environnements DYnamiques et Territoires de Montagnes)
  • GIPSA-lab (Grenoble Images Parole Signal Automatique)
  • LGGE (Glaciology and Environmental Geophysics Laboratory)
  • LISTIC (Computer Science, Systems, Information and Knowledge Processing Laboratory)

Aosta Valley glacier