Identifying the potential for Glacial Lake Outburst Floods in Eastern Tibet
Adam, William George
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In recent decades the retreat of mountain glaciers from their little ice age maxima combined with globally warming temperatures is resulting in the formation of basins between glacier margins and their frontal and lateral moraines. Meltwater accumulation in these basins can lead to Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF’s) that can result in loss of life and property for local settlements. Many of these mountainous regions are very remote. Remotely sensed images of the glacial lakes in the eastern side of the Buranga Valley, Tibet, have been interpreted over five time periods to assess their area growth. 25 glacial lakes were assessed and 5 glacial lakes were found to pose a high risk to local population and infrastructure. The integration of remote sensing and geographic information science can identify where glacial lakes may pose a risk of catastrophic drainage and the route they would take. This allows research to be directed to potential problem areas when planning field work in areas that are not easily accessible.