2021-03-02Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/23250
Future glacial lakes in High Mountain Asia: an inventory and assessment of hazard potential from surrounding slopes
Bedrock overdeepenings exposed by continued glacial retreat can store precipitation and meltwater, potentially leading to the formation of new proglacial lakes. These lakes may pose threats of glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) in high mountain areas, particularly if new lakes form in geomorphological setups prone to triggering events such as landslides or moraine collapses. We present the first complete inventory for future glacial lakes in High Mountain Asia by computing the subglacial bedrock for ~100 000 glaciers and estimating overdeepening area, volume and impact hazard for the larger potential lakes. We detect 25 285 overdeepenings larger than 104 m2 with a volume of 99.1 ± 28.6 km3 covering an area of 2683 ± 773.8 km2. For the 2700 overdeepenings larger than 105 m2, we assess the lake predisposition for mass-movement impacts that could trigger a GLOF by estimating the hazard of material detaching from surrounding slopes. Our findings indicate a shift in lake area, volume and GLOF hazard from the southwestern Himalayan region toward the Karakoram. The results of this study can be used for anticipating emerging threats and potentials connected to glacial lakes and as a basis for further studies at suspected GLOF hazard hotspots.
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This article was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Open Access Publication Fund of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.