Presentation Type

Presentation

Faculty Mentor’s Full Name

Sarah Halvorson

Faculty Mentor’s Department

Geography

Abstract

Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) have contributed to a number of disasters in the Hindu Kush-Karakoram-Himalaya region in the past few decades. GLOFs are associated with the long-term retreat of glaciers as a result of climate change and the release of glacial waters due to the failure of an ice dam or terminal moraine. When these floods occur in inhabited areas, the risk of loss of life and property is very high. Glacial melting accelerates with a warming climate and increases the risks associated with GLOFs; mitigation, community-based responses, and appropriate preparedness are needed. This study examines GLOF hazards and mitigation with a specific focus on Northern Pakistan as an area at particularly high risk of GLOFs. The glaciers in the mountains of the HKH that dominate the region are melting, loading more water into the glacial lakes. Northern Pakistan itself is heavily glaciated and has 33 glacial lakes that are deemed capable of causing hazardous GLOFs. This paper reports on research that seeks to establish the physical risk of GLOFs using scientific data and literature and will summarize the glacial surveying and GLOF monitoring that is underway. The paper will also analyze the response and mitigation-related dimensions of GLOFs and will draw upon government documents, non-governmental organization reports, regional analyses, and relevant news articles published in Pakistani English language newspapers. This paper highlights the importance and difficulties of GLOF early warning systems along with the importance of integrated GLOF management. It also seeks to situate the case of GLOF hazards in Northern Pakistan as part of a broader regional context.

Category

Social Sciences

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Glacial Lake Outburst Flood Hazards: A Study of Risk and Response in Northern Pakistan

Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) have contributed to a number of disasters in the Hindu Kush-Karakoram-Himalaya region in the past few decades. GLOFs are associated with the long-term retreat of glaciers as a result of climate change and the release of glacial waters due to the failure of an ice dam or terminal moraine. When these floods occur in inhabited areas, the risk of loss of life and property is very high. Glacial melting accelerates with a warming climate and increases the risks associated with GLOFs; mitigation, community-based responses, and appropriate preparedness are needed. This study examines GLOF hazards and mitigation with a specific focus on Northern Pakistan as an area at particularly high risk of GLOFs. The glaciers in the mountains of the HKH that dominate the region are melting, loading more water into the glacial lakes. Northern Pakistan itself is heavily glaciated and has 33 glacial lakes that are deemed capable of causing hazardous GLOFs. This paper reports on research that seeks to establish the physical risk of GLOFs using scientific data and literature and will summarize the glacial surveying and GLOF monitoring that is underway. The paper will also analyze the response and mitigation-related dimensions of GLOFs and will draw upon government documents, non-governmental organization reports, regional analyses, and relevant news articles published in Pakistani English language newspapers. This paper highlights the importance and difficulties of GLOF early warning systems along with the importance of integrated GLOF management. It also seeks to situate the case of GLOF hazards in Northern Pakistan as part of a broader regional context.