GAPHAZ RecommendationsThe GAPHAZ working group strongly recommends that the following general principles are among others considered when assessing hazards and risk associated with glaciers and permafrost in mountains:
(1) Global changeClimate change can induce disturbance in glacier and permafrost equilibrium and can shift hazard zones beyond historical limits. In many regions, human settlements and activities increasingly extend towards endangered zones increasing local vulnerability. As a result, historical data alone are not sufficient any more for hazard assessments and have to be combined with new observation and modelling approaches.
(2) Chain reactions and interactionsGlacier- and permafrost-related disasters often include a combination of processes and chain reactions. Hazard assessments therefore have to be integrative and consider such variety and interaction of processes.
(3) MonitoringDue to the accelerated change of high-mountain environments, hazard assessments must be undertaken routinely and regularly, combined with appropriate monitoring.
(4) Integrative risk assessmentsIntegrative hazard assessments should be achieved by interdisciplinary cooperation of experts, and the application of modern observation and modelling techniques designed for such integrative approaches. Managing glacier and permafrost hazards requires risk assessments. For that purpose hazard assessments have to be combined with vulnerability assessments.
(5) Remote sensingModern space technologies enable initial estimation of hazard potentials to be performed by virtually everyone and everywhere, independent of political and geographical restrictions. This fundamental "democratisation" process related to high-mountain (and other) hazards involves a number of new opportunities, dangers and responsibilities, for the public, the authorities in charge, and the experts involved.
(6) Socio-economic contextThe transfer and dissemination of expert hazard assessments to the authorities and to the public, and thus the efficiency of assessments, is to a large degree dependent on the socio-economic context and the hazard perception of the endangered population. Communication of results from glacier and permafrost hazard assessments should consider these circumstances.
ServicesAs a scientific working group, GAPHAZ tries to support any scientific activity related to glacier and permafrost hazards in mountains. Please contact us for involvement in meetings and conferences, for coordinated funding proposals etc.
GAPHAZ itself offers no commercial services such as e.g. hazard assessments or emergency interventions. However, GAPHAZ is a network of experts in the field of glacier and permafrost hazards. We would be happy to forward any such request to our expert members and help to find a suitable partner for you. Please contact us directly.