Observation guidelines for avAlanche programs in the U.S.

Snow, Weather, and Avalanche Guidelines (SWAG)


This document contains a set of guidelines for observing and recording snow, weather, and avalanche phenomena. These guidelines were prepared for avalanche forecasting operations, but can be applied to other programs as well. The guidelines are presented as a resource of common methods and are intended to promote efficient and fruitful communication among professional operations and between research and operational communities.  The observations presented in this manual were selected to support active avalanche forecasting programs. Observing these parameters will help avalanche forecasters make informed and consistent decisions, provide current and accurate information, and document methods and rationale for operational decisions. Recording these parameters will assist program managers to document and analyze unusual events, apply pattern recognition and statistical forecasting methods, and assist research into snow and avalanche phenomena. In addition, there is often little snow and weather data collected in mountainous areas and data collected by avalanche forecasting programs can be used in climatological and mountain systems research. Our hope is that this manual will help forecasters carefully choose the observations that support their programs, and that those observations will generate high quality and consistent data sets. Please reference preview below.