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Environment

Analysis of the meteorological factors triggering debris flows

Michelle schneuwly-bollschweiler

Nationality Swiss

Year of selection 2008

Institution University of Fribourg

Country Switzerland

Risk Environment

Post-Doctoral Fellowship

1 year

50900 €

Tree Stories

Would you believe that trees tell stories? At least to those who know how to read them. Dr. Michelle Schneuwly-Bollschweiler uses tree rings to study past occurrences of debris fl ows* and to investigate the impact of climate change on the frequency of such events. Dr. Schneuwly-Bollschweiler samples trees showing signs of injury from debris fl ows and counts the annual growth rings formed after the scars in order to date the debris-fl ow event. Using this method, she managed to obtain a picture of debris-fl ow occurrences in the Swiss Alps from 1600 to the present day! She linked her results to the occurrence of extreme rainfall* over the past few decades. Dr. Schneuwly-Bollschweiler's results may help predict the future frequency of debris fl ows. This may ultimately be useful to local authorities for safe land-use planning and the building of protection structures.

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