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Identification of glacier motion and potentially dangerous glacial lakes in the Mt. Everest region/Nepal using spaceborne imagery


Bolch, Tobias; Buchroithner, Manfred F; Peters, J; Baessler, M; Bajracharya, S (2008). Identification of glacier motion and potentially dangerous glacial lakes in the Mt. Everest region/Nepal using spaceborne imagery. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 8(6):1329-1340.

Abstract

Failures of glacial lake dams can cause outburst floods and represents a serious hazard. The potential danger of outburst floods depends on various factors like the lake's area and volume, glacier change, morphometry of the glacier and its surrounding moraines and valley, and glacier velocity. Remote sensing offers an efficient tool for displacement calculations and risk assessment of the identification of potentially dangerous glacial lakes (PDGLs) and is especially helpful for remote mountainous areas. Not all important parameters can, however, be obtained using spaceborne imagery. Additional interpretation by an expert is required. ASTER data has a suitable accuracy to calculate surface velocity. Ikonos data offers more detail but requires more effort for rectification. All investigated debris-covered glacier tongues show areas with no or very slow movement rates. From 1962 to 2003 the number and area of glacial lakes increased, dominated by the occurrence and almost linear areal expansion of the moraine-dammed lakes, like the Imja Lake. Although the Imja Lake will probably still grow in the near future, the risk of an outburst flood (GLOF) is considered not higher than for other glacial lakes in the area. Potentially dangerous lakes and areas of lake development are identified. There is a high probability of further lake development at Khumbu Glacier, but a low one at Lhotse Glacier.

Abstract

Failures of glacial lake dams can cause outburst floods and represents a serious hazard. The potential danger of outburst floods depends on various factors like the lake's area and volume, glacier change, morphometry of the glacier and its surrounding moraines and valley, and glacier velocity. Remote sensing offers an efficient tool for displacement calculations and risk assessment of the identification of potentially dangerous glacial lakes (PDGLs) and is especially helpful for remote mountainous areas. Not all important parameters can, however, be obtained using spaceborne imagery. Additional interpretation by an expert is required. ASTER data has a suitable accuracy to calculate surface velocity. Ikonos data offers more detail but requires more effort for rectification. All investigated debris-covered glacier tongues show areas with no or very slow movement rates. From 1962 to 2003 the number and area of glacial lakes increased, dominated by the occurrence and almost linear areal expansion of the moraine-dammed lakes, like the Imja Lake. Although the Imja Lake will probably still grow in the near future, the risk of an outburst flood (GLOF) is considered not higher than for other glacial lakes in the area. Potentially dangerous lakes and areas of lake development are identified. There is a high probability of further lake development at Khumbu Glacier, but a low one at Lhotse Glacier.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2008
Deposited On:16 May 2017 14:39
Last Modified:16 May 2017 14:40
Publisher:Copernicus Publications
ISSN:1561-8633
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-8-1329-2008

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