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Article

Hazard Assessment for a Glacier Lake Outburst Flood in the Mo Chu River Basin, Bhutan

1
Department of Geoinformatics, Munich University of Applied Sciences HM, 80333 Munich, Germany
2
GAF AG, Arnulfstr. 199, 80634 Munich, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Micol Mastrocicco
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(20), 9463; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11209463
Received: 2 September 2021 / Revised: 30 September 2021 / Accepted: 7 October 2021 / Published: 12 October 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Earth Sciences and Geography)
The frequency of glacier lake outbursts floods (GLOFs) is likely to increase with the ongoing glacier retreat, which produces new glacial lakes and enlarges existing ones. Here, we simulate the outburst of a potentially dangerous glacial lake in Bhutan by applying hydrodynamic modelling. Although the lake volume is known, several parameters connected to the dam breach and the routing of the flood are rough estimates or assumptions, which introduce uncertainties in the results. For this reason, we create an ensemble of nine outburst scenarios. The simulation of magnitude and timing of possible inundation depths is an important asset to prepare emergency action plans. For our case study in the Mo Chu River Basin, the results show that, even under the worst case scenario, little damage to residential buildings can be expected. However, such an outburst flood would probably destroy infrastructure and farmland and might even affect the operation of a hydroelectric powerplant more than 120 km downstream the lake. Our simulation efforts revealed that, by using a 30-m elevation model instead of a 5-m raster, flood magnitude and inundation areas are overestimated significantly, which highly suggests the use of high-resolution terrain data. These results may be a valuable input for risk mitigation efforts. View Full-Text
Keywords: glacier lake outburst flood; GLOF; jökulhlaup; hydrodynamic modelling; HEC-RAS; risk assessment; Bhutan glacier lake outburst flood; GLOF; jökulhlaup; hydrodynamic modelling; HEC-RAS; risk assessment; Bhutan
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hagg, W.; Ram, S.; Klaus, A.; Aschauer, S.; Babernits, S.; Brand, D.; Guggemoos, P.; Pappas, T. Hazard Assessment for a Glacier Lake Outburst Flood in the Mo Chu River Basin, Bhutan. Appl. Sci. 2021, 11, 9463. https://doi.org/10.3390/app11209463

AMA Style

Hagg W, Ram S, Klaus A, Aschauer S, Babernits S, Brand D, Guggemoos P, Pappas T. Hazard Assessment for a Glacier Lake Outburst Flood in the Mo Chu River Basin, Bhutan. Applied Sciences. 2021; 11(20):9463. https://doi.org/10.3390/app11209463

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hagg, Wilfried, Stefan Ram, Alexander Klaus, Simon Aschauer, Sinan Babernits, Dennis Brand, Peter Guggemoos, and Theodor Pappas. 2021. "Hazard Assessment for a Glacier Lake Outburst Flood in the Mo Chu River Basin, Bhutan" Applied Sciences 11, no. 20: 9463. https://doi.org/10.3390/app11209463

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