New Paper Published : Inventory and GLOF hazard assessment of glacial lakes in the Sikkim Himalayas, India

Naz Islam has just published a paper that considers Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs), a recurring hazard in the Himalayas, posing significant threat to downstream communities, in the North Sikkim district of India. This district comprising the upper reaches of the Teesta River in the Eastern Himalayas, and has experienced past GLOF events. The identification of lakes susceptible to this phenomenon is therefore paramount. Using multi-temporal satellite images, this study tracks lake growth in the region, revealing that 203 new lakes had developed herein during the observation period (2000–2018). Of these, 82 lakes had formed during 2011–2018 alone; indicating marked glacial retreat and consequent lake area growth, alongside a rising temperature trend. Using various weighted geometric and geomorphic parameters, the 36 most hazardous lakes were identified, from which the 10 lakes posing the greatest GLOF threat were discerned. These lakes are mostly situated along the main snowline and Great Himalayan water-divide in the north-eastern part of Sikkim and should be monitored continuously. A link to the paper is available here.