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Advanced Remote Monitoring Techniques for Glaciers, Avalanches and Landslides Hazard Mitigation

European Union




Giorgio Franchioni


GALAHAD Project addressed landslides, avalanches and glaciers-related hazard mitigation, through the development of advanced monitoring techniques and the improvement of forecasting methods and tools. Two innovative techniques for remote monitoring were mainly considered: the Ground-Based SAR (GB-SAR) and Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS). Landslides hazard is increasingly causing substantial damages in mountainous and hilly regions. Its occurrence is frequently related to human activities, which affect the land use (e.g. deforestation, urban development, etc.) and is increasing due to the continental climate changes with intense and prolonged rainfalls and the risk of tropicalisation.

Analogously, climate changes are the main causes of the improved occurrence of avalanches as well as the dangerously increased movements of glaciers. The above effects largely impact on critical infrastructures safety and on social and economic activities. Their mitigation is therefore a paramount for protection of citizens and their properties. The enhancement of forecasting methods and tools plays a crucial role in this frame. This can be achieved, besides other aspects, through the development and the integration of monitoring solutions, able to provide measurements over large areas, at useful accuracies, that are affordable, reliable and operational. At the beginning of GALAHAD, remote monitoring techniques based on ground-based SAR technologies have been already developed, at a first stage, for investigation of landslides.

However, their reliability for the early warning still faced with intrinsic limitations related to operative and interpretation issues. Laser scanning techniques, on the other hand, have found so far very limited applications in detecting landslide movements. Preliminary works suggested that these techniques can play a role of great relevance in assessing and forecasting landslides, avalanche and glacier hazards.