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.
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