Document Type



Snow avalanches impose a considerable threat to infrastructure and human safety in snow bound mountain areas. Nevertheless, the spatial prediction of snow avalanches has received little research attention in many vulnerable parts of the world, particularly in developing countries. The present study investigates the applicability of a stand alone convolutional neural network (CNN) model, as a deep learning approach, along with two metaheuristic algorithms including grey wolf optimization (CNN-GWO) and imperialist competitive algorithm (CNN-ICA) in snow avalanche modelling in the Darvan watershed, Iran. The analysis was based on thirteen potential drivers of avalanche occurrence and an inventory map of previously documented avalanche occurrences. The efficiency of models’ performance was evaluated by Area Under the Receiver Operating Characteristic curve (AUC) and the Root Mean Square Error (RMSE). The CNN-ICA model yielded the highest accuracy in both training (AUC= 0.982, RMSE = 0.067) and validation (AUC= 0.972, RMSE = 0.125) steps, followed by the CNN-GWO model (AUC of 0.975 for training, RMSE of 0.18 for training, AUC of 0.968 for validation, RMSE of 0.157 for validation). However, the standalone CNN model showed lower goodness-of-fit (AUC= 0.864, RMSE = 0.22) and predictive performance (AUC= 0.811, RMSE = 0.330). The approach utilized in this study is broadly applicable for identifying areas where avalanche hazard is likely to be high and where mitigation measures or corresponding land use planning should be prioritized.

Publication Title

Geocarto International

Publication Date







artificial intelligence, GIS, natural disasters, Snow avalanche



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