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Geosciences 2017, 7(3), 77; doi:10.3390/geosciences7030077

Evaluating the Scale and Potential of GLOF in the Bhutan Himalayas Using a Satellite-Based Integral Glacier–Glacial Lake Inventory

1
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Tsukuba 350-8505, Japan
2
Niigata University, Niigata 950-2181, Japan
3
Nagoya University, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan
4
Remote Sensing Technology Center of Japan, Tsukuba 305-8505, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ulrich Kamp and Jesús Martínez Frías
Received: 26 May 2017 / Revised: 28 August 2017 / Accepted: 29 August 2017 / Published: 1 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cryosphere)
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Abstract

A comprehensive glacier–glacial lake inventory was developed for the Bhutan Himalayas based on satellite observations between 1987–1990 and 2006–2011. In total, 733 lakes (covering 82.6 km2) were delineated between 4000 and 6000 m a.s.l. and their relationships to associated glaciers were documented. Using this new inventory, the scale and potential for glacial lake outburst flooding (GLOF) based on multiple criteria was examined. This included a history of connectivity characteristics of glacial lakes to mother glaciers, potential flood volumes, and debris-cover of mother glaciers in addition to the conventional criteria of expansion rate and lake size. The majority of the lakes with high expansion rates (more than double in size) and large areas (>0.1 km2) met the conditions of being continuously in contact with a mother debris-covered glacier for nearly 20 years. Based on these multiple criteria, two lakes were identified as having potential for large-scale GLOF. Potentially dangerous glacial lakes listed in the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) study were re-visited, and some overlaps with the glacier–glacial lake inventory were found. View Full-Text
Keywords: ALOS; glacier inventory; glacial lake inventory ALOS; glacier inventory; glacial lake inventory
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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

Nagai, H.; Ukita, J.; Narama, C.; Fujita, K.; Sakai, A.; Tadono, T.; Yamanokuchi, T.; Tomiyama, N. Evaluating the Scale and Potential of GLOF in the Bhutan Himalayas Using a Satellite-Based Integral Glacier–Glacial Lake Inventory. Geosciences 2017, 7, 77.

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