Workshop Theme:

Cryosphere related hazards pose growing yet often cryptic threats, to human lives and infrastructure in high mountains. Related disasters can kill hundreds of people at once and cause damages on the order of tens of million Euro worldwide annually. A single 100-year disaster can cause over billions of Euro of damage and thousands of deaths. Global change will further challenge our ability to predict such disasters. Changes in glacier and permafrost equilibrium driven by warming and changes in precipitation patterns are creating hazards in zones hitherto considered safe. At the same time human settlements and activities extend towards danger zones. As a consequence, historical knowledge has become less useful as a guide and needs to be complemented with improved process understanding. In the perspective of rapidly vanishing glaciers and increasingly severe droughts, water resources from glacierized mountains have become of highest importance, and interests of water resource exploitation have to be carefully considered against risk issues. These challenges require integrated analysis based on the most recent technologies and interdisciplinary approaches. Political decision making, prevention and mitigation strategies, and engineering approaches must be adapted to these rapidly changing environmental conditions. The purpose of this workshop is:

  • Review and enhance state-of-the-art methods for glacial and permafrost hazard assessments
  • Identify current research gaps
  • Provide an overview of the current and likely future situation of glacial and permafrost hazards in mountainous regions
  • Outline ongoing and expected impacts from climate change
  • Facilitate the exchange between the scientific community, and implementing and decision-making agencies

The workshop will bring together scientists, engineers, and officials from governmental and non-governmental institutions involved in decision making related to glacier and permafrost hazards in mountain areas.


·        Glacier lakes and outbursts (GLOFs)

·        Ice avalanches

·        Glacier surges

·        Ice-clad volcanoes

·        Earthquake triggering of glacier disasters

·        Interactions between glaciers and permafrost

·        Glacier- and permafrost-related slope instabilities

·        Threat to glacial water resources

·        Impacts on structures, infrastructure and human activities

·        Understanding of processes and interactions

·        Remote sensing and geophysics

·        Monitoring and early warning technologies

·        Hazard assessment

·        Prevention and mitigation

·        Risks and benefits of glacial and periglacial water resources

·        National and local decision-making processes

·        Cross-boundary implications of disasters and mitigation

·        Socio-economic analysis of disaster potential and mitigation