Future Increase in Glacial Lakes in Himalayas and Central Asia

Journal of Glaciology, March 2
This new inventory of potential future lakes detected more than 25,000 “overdeepenings” (valleys gouged into the bedrock underneath glaciers due to water erosion) in High Mountain Asia that are over 1,000 m2 large, and nearly 3,000 overdeepenings over 10,000 m2. Water from precipitation and ice melt can accumulate in these deep valleys that have been eroded by glaciers over thousands of years, potentially leading to the formation of new lakes. The number of lakes at the base of glaciers is thus expected to increase substantially over the next 70 years, particularly in Central Asia’s northwestern regions.  These lakes increase the threat of outburst flooding, particularly if the bedrock surrounding the lakes is at risk of landslides or moraine collapse, as may have recently occurred in north India. The results of this study may be used for anticipating emerging threats connected to glacial lakes.


Compiled by Amy Imdieke.