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Mass movement hazard and exposure in the Himalaya


Dubey, Saket; Sattar, Ashim; Goyal, Manish Kumar; Allen, Simon; Frey, Holger; Haritashya, Umesh K; Huggel, Christian (2023). Mass movement hazard and exposure in the Himalaya. Earth's Future, 11(9):e2022EF003253.

Abstract

Himalaya is experiencing frequent catastrophic mass movement events such as avalanches and landslides, causing loss of human lives and infrastructure. Millions of people reside in critical zones potentially exposed to such catastrophes. Despite this, a comprehensive assessment of mass movement exposure is lacking at a regional scale. Here, we developed a novel method of determining mass movement trajectories and applied it to the Himalayan Mountain ranges for the first time to quantify the exposure of infrastructure, waterways, roadways, and population in six mountain ranges, including Hindu Kush, Karakoram, western Himalaya, eastern Himalaya, central Himalaya, and Hengduan Shan. Our results reveal that the exposure of buildings and roadways to mass movements is highest in Karakoram, whereas central Himalaya has the highest exposed waterways. The hotspots of exposed roadways are concentrated in Nepal, the North Indian states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, the Union Territory of Ladakh, and China's Sichuan Province. Our analysis shows that the population in the central Himalaya is currently at the highest exposure to mass movement impacts. Projected future populations based on Shared Socio‐economic and Representative Concentration Pathways suggest that changing settlement patterns and emission scenarios will significantly influence the potential impact of these events on the human population. Assessment of anticipated secondary hazards (glacial lake outburst floods) shows an increase in probable headward impacts of mass movements on glacial lakes in the future. Our findings will support researchers, policymakers, stakeholders, and local governments in identifying critical areas that require detailed investigation for risk reduction and mitigation.

Abstract

Himalaya is experiencing frequent catastrophic mass movement events such as avalanches and landslides, causing loss of human lives and infrastructure. Millions of people reside in critical zones potentially exposed to such catastrophes. Despite this, a comprehensive assessment of mass movement exposure is lacking at a regional scale. Here, we developed a novel method of determining mass movement trajectories and applied it to the Himalayan Mountain ranges for the first time to quantify the exposure of infrastructure, waterways, roadways, and population in six mountain ranges, including Hindu Kush, Karakoram, western Himalaya, eastern Himalaya, central Himalaya, and Hengduan Shan. Our results reveal that the exposure of buildings and roadways to mass movements is highest in Karakoram, whereas central Himalaya has the highest exposed waterways. The hotspots of exposed roadways are concentrated in Nepal, the North Indian states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, the Union Territory of Ladakh, and China's Sichuan Province. Our analysis shows that the population in the central Himalaya is currently at the highest exposure to mass movement impacts. Projected future populations based on Shared Socio‐economic and Representative Concentration Pathways suggest that changing settlement patterns and emission scenarios will significantly influence the potential impact of these events on the human population. Assessment of anticipated secondary hazards (glacial lake outburst floods) shows an increase in probable headward impacts of mass movements on glacial lakes in the future. Our findings will support researchers, policymakers, stakeholders, and local governments in identifying critical areas that require detailed investigation for risk reduction and mitigation.

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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
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > General Environmental Science
Physical Sciences > Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous), General Environmental Science
Language:English
Date:1 September 2023
Deposited On:12 Oct 2023 14:10
Last Modified:27 Jun 2024 03:32
Publisher:Wiley Open Access
ISSN:2328-4277
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1029/2022ef003253
Project Information:
  • : FunderNational Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)