Alexander Prokop

Alexander Prokop. Photo: UNIS

Alexander Prokop

Associate Professor, Snow science

Phone: +47 79 02 33 47
Room: A 206


PhD at the Department of Civil Engineering and Natural Hazards, at BOKU-University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna: “The application of terrestrial laser scanning for snow and avalanche research”.

Invited guest scientist at the following institutions: SLF (Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research, Davos, Switzerland); IRSTEA (National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture, Grenoble, France); METEOFRANCE, Grenoble, France; University of Oslo, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Department of Geosciences; University de Franche-Comté (CNRS), Besancon, France; AWIPEV – Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), Polar Institute Paul Emile Victor (IPEV) in Ny-Ålesund, Spitzbergen.

Research interests:

My research focuses on the one hand on spatial variability of the snowpack and its stability. Thereby the snow depth variability is measured via terrestrial laser scanning and processes related to avalanche formation such as snow drift and cornice formation are modeled by simple geometric models or advanced physical models. This research interest applies also to meteorological control on avalanches, as atmospheric and snowpack models are able to describe the condition of snow pack and atmosphere at the time of high avalanche danger. On the other hand my research focuses on avalanche mapping and risk assessment. In applied engineering research projects avalanche tracks are analysed using different approaches, extreme avalanche events are modeled for hazard mapping by dynamic avalanche models and results are evaluated against terrestrial laser scan data collected before and after avalanche events occurred for mass balance calculations. A new approach focuses on detecting avalanche dimensions using distributed fiber optic technology. Avalanches are measured in time, and parameters about avalanche size and snow properties are provided.


Avalanche forecasting, avalanche dynamics, avalanche safety, snow climate related studies, snow cover properties, laser scanning, distributed fiber optic sensing.

Ongoing research projects:

  • Permafrost, Rock fall, Ice, Snow Monitoring and Modeling (PRISM) carried out near Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard. RIS-ID: 6815
  • Distributed Acoustic fiber optic Sensing of Avalanches (DAS-A) carried out in Lech am Arlberg (Austrian Alps)
  • Improving snow drift protection fences at Tafamunt avalanche constructions carried out in the Montafon valley (Austrian Alps)

PhD students (*= Co supervisor or committee member)

Peter Schön: “Terrain-based parameter for predicting mountain snow redistribution” PhD at BOKU-University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna. Department of Civil Engineering and Natural Hazards.

Helmut Panholzer: “Automated filtering approaches for terrestrial laser scan data” Ph.D at BOKU-University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna. Department of Civil Engineering and Natural Hazards.

Gaetan Pulfer*: ”Friction laws of dense snow avalanches in Saint-Venant formalism: Dynamic calibration of real and granular flows using photogrammetry” PhD at IRSTEA, Grenoble, France


Alexander Prokop in UNIS news:

16.02.2017: A force more deadly than polar bears

Other media:

01.02.2018: Lawinen sind tödlicher als Eisbären (der Standard)

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