Evolution and Controls of Large Glacial Lakes in the Nepal Himalaya
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Dept Planetary Sci
Univ Arizona, Dept Hydrol & Atmospher Sci
High Mountain Asia (HMA)
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CitationHaritashya UK, Kargel JS, Shugar DH, Leonard GJ, Strattman K, Watson CS, Shean D, Harrison S, Mandli KT, Regmi D. Evolution and Controls of Large Glacial Lakes in the Nepal Himalaya. Remote Sensing. 2018; 10(5):798.
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AbstractGlacier recession driven by climate change produces glacial lakes, some of which are hazardous. Our study assesses the evolution of three of the most hazardous moraine-dammed proglacial lakes in the Nepal HimalayaImja, Lower Barun, and Thulagi. Imja Lake (up to 150 m deep; 78.4 x 10(6) m(3) volume; surveyed in October 2014) and Lower Barun Lake (205 m maximum observed depth; 112.3 x 10(6) m(3) volume; surveyed in October 2015) are much deeper than previously measured, and their readily drainable volumes are slowly growing. Their surface areas have been increasing at an accelerating pace from a few small supraglacial lakes in the 1950s/1960s to 1.33 km(2) and 1.79 km(2) in 2017, respectively. In contrast, the surface area (0.89 km(2)) and volume of Thulagi lake (76 m maximum observed depth; 36.1 x 10(6) m(3); surveyed in October 2017) has remained almost stable for about two decades. Analyses of changes in the moraine dams of the three lakes using digital elevation models (DEMs) quantifies the degradation of the dams due to the melting of their ice cores and hence their natural lowering rates as well as the potential for glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs). We examined the likely future evolution of lake growth and hazard processes associated with lake instability, which suggests faster growth and increased hazard potential at Lower Barun lake.
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsNational Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) High Mountain Asia grant [NNX16AQ62G]; National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) SERVIR Applied Science Team grant [NNX12AO96G]; National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Interdisciplinary Research in Earth Science grant [NNX17AL80G]; United Nations Development Program's Imja Lake-Lowering project; NASA cryosphere program [NNX16AQ88G]