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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(7), 654; doi:10.3390/rs9070654

Identification of Hazard and Risk for Glacial Lakes in the Nepal Himalaya Using Satellite Imagery from 2000–2015

1
Center for Research in Water Resources, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78758, USA
2
School of Geography and water@leeds, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Qiusheng Wu, Charles Lane, Melanie Vanderhoof, Chunqiao Song, Deepak R. Mishra and Richard Gloaguen
Received: 19 April 2017 / Revised: 7 June 2017 / Accepted: 21 June 2017 / Published: 26 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Climate Change and Water Resources)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [800 KB, uploaded 28 June 2017]   |  

Abstract

Glacial lakes in the Nepal Himalaya can threaten downstream communities and have large socio-economic consequences if an outburst flood occurs. This study identified 131 glacial lakes in Nepal in 2015 that are greater than 0.1 km2 and performed a first-pass hazard and risk assessment for each lake. The hazard assessment included mass entering the lake, the moraine stability, and how lake expansion will alter the lake’s hazard in the next 15–30 years. A geometric flood model was used to quantify potential hydropower systems, buildings, agricultural land, and bridges that could be affected by a glacial lake outburst flood. The hazard and downstream impacts were combined to classify the risk associated with each lake. 11 lakes were classified as very high risk and 31 as high risk. The potential flood volume was also estimated and used to prioritize the glacial lakes that are the highest risk, which included Phoksundo Tal, Tsho Rolpa, Chamlang North Tsho, Chamlang South Tsho, and Lumding Tsho. These results are intended to assist stakeholders and decision makers in making well-informed decisions with respect to the glacial lakes that should be the focus of future field studies, modeling efforts, and risk-mitigation actions. View Full-Text
Keywords: glacial lake; Nepal; risk; hazard; downstream impact; avalanche; rockfall; moraine stability; lake expansion glacial lake; Nepal; risk; hazard; downstream impact; avalanche; rockfall; moraine stability; lake expansion
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Rounce, D.R.; Watson, C.S.; McKinney, D.C. Identification of Hazard and Risk for Glacial Lakes in the Nepal Himalaya Using Satellite Imagery from 2000–2015. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 654.

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