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Centre d’Etudes de la Neige MétéoFrance (CEN), France


  • Jean-Marie Willemet: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • Dr.Pierre Etchevers: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • Dr.Yves Durand: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Centre d’Etudes de la Neige

The CEN is a laboratory of the research department (CNRM) of Météo-France located at Grenoble and specialized in snow and avalanche research. Météo-France is a public establishment under the authority of the French Ministry in charge of the Transports and is certified ISO 9001-2000. As part of CNRM, CEN is included in the associated research unit of CNRS named GAME (URA 1357).

The CEN has proven its expertise in avalanche forecasting and as a high-level research centre for mountain meteorology, climate change impacts, snow and avalanches. Its main working fields are: physical and mechanical properties of snow at different scales, field instrumentation, remote sensing observation, snow cover modelling, interactions between snow, atmosphere and wind, snow climatology and hydrology. The CEN has developed a range of operational numerical models running at the massif scale which have been widely validated in different experiments in several European and overseas mountainous regions. These models allow a routinely automatic hourly estimation of meteorological near-surface parameters including rainfalls, snow conditions and avalanche hazards at different aspects and elevations. The transfer of such applications to the operational users has been assured by CEN teams. Other local tools for data processing and local avalanche hazard estimation have also been developed and routinely used.

The different CNRM laboratories are strongly close and are used to work together; the CEN has the benefits of the experience in hydrology at regional scale of the other specialized groups and its own experience allows it to translate such information at local scale.

The CEN acts also as national coordinator of the avalanche hazard forecast which is operated by Météo-France and assures the responsibility of the national snow data base and for the development of the operational tools. In case of high avalanche events or crisis, CEN participates to the spatial management of the forecast and to the communication with media and authorities.

The CEN has its own computing facilities and access to all Météo-France super computers and database facilities. The CEN operates two cold laboratories and two main reference high altitude observation sites.

Pierre Etchevers: (Born 03/01/70). Head of CEN (Chief-Engineer of Meteorology and PhD in Meteorology/Hydrology from Toulouse Univ.) He worked several years on snow modelling and has a great experience in various applications such downscaling, climate change, hydrology, turbulent fluxes above the snow pack with several associated publications.

Yves Durand: (Born 20/04/51). Deputy Director at the CEN (Chief-Engineer of Meteorology). Long experience of the numerical analysis of meteorological fields which he has principally used for the automatic determination of small-scale fields in mountainous areas with several international publications. Supervises at CEN the team "Meteorology and Mountains"; which works also on the snowdrifts experiments and downscaling operators. He is in charge of the daily numerical at different spatial scales which includes meteorological and snow oriented products as avalanche risks, precipitation and melting amounts evaluation.

Jean-Marie Willemet: (Born 07/05/65) (Civil Engineer of Meteorology) He is a specialist in snow numerical modelling and surface processes.