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Lamsal D.,Hokkaido University | Sawagaki T.,Hokkaido University | Watanabe T.,Hokkaido University | Byers A.C.,The Mountain Institute
Geomatics, Natural Hazards and Risk | Year: 2016

Chamlang South Tsho has been identified as one of the six high-priority glacial lakes in terms of glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) danger in Nepal Himalaya, despite the fact that no detailed investigations of the lake had been hitherto undertaken. We conducted detailed mapping of the lake and its surroundings along with field surveys in October 2009 to determine the developmental history of Chamlang South Tsho and to assess its potential for GLOF. The lake expanded rapidly between 1964 (0.04 km2) and 2000 (0.86 km2) and has been stable ever since. Future lake expansion is improbable as its sides are confined by relatively stable landforms. The lake is 87-m deep with a water volume of approximately 34.9–35.6 × 106 m3. Hanging glaciers on the steep surrounding mountain slopes and prominent seepage water in the terminal moraine dam could be potential triggers for a future outburst flood. Additionally, the debris-covered dead-ice dam, which is higher than the lake water level, is narrow and low; therefore, it could be overtopped easily by surge waves. Furthermore, the pronounced difference in elevation between the lake and the base of the terminal moraine dam makes the lake susceptible for a large flood. © 2014 Taylor & Francis. Source

Byers A.C.,The Mountain Institute | McKinney D.C.,University of Texas at Austin | Somos-Valenzuela M.,University of Texas at Austin | Watanabe T.,Hokkaido University | Lamsal D.,Kathmandu University
Natural Hazards | Year: 2013

In recent decades, many of the larger glaciers in the Himalaya and Andes that have experienced increased melting have become glacial lakes. Some of these lakes present a risk of glacial lake outburst floods that can unleash stored lake water and eroded debris, often causing enormous devastation downstream. Many of these new glacial lakes have formed in the Mt. Everest and Makalu Barun National Parks of Nepal, nine of which in the remote Hinku and Hongu valleys have been designated as "potentially dangerous" based on remote sensing analyses. Until recently, however, relatively little ground-based information was available for these lakes, including their physical characteristics, danger level, prospective downstream impacts in the event of an outburst, and mitigation methods appropriate and applicable to remote regions within the Nepal Himalaya. This paper describes three separate, interdisciplinary expeditions to the Hinku and Hongu valleys between 2009 and 2012 that were designed to close these information gaps. Each expedition combined remote sensing with field-based analyses, repeat photography, interviews with local people, bathymetric surveys, ground penetrating radar, and flood modeling. Eight of the "potentially dangerous" lakes surveyed were found to be stable, and one that had escaped mention in previous studies (L464) was found to contain a high risk of an outburst flood. In the data-deficient high mountain world, we suggest that the combined use of sophisticated remote sensing and modeling technologies with traditional, field-based methods can provide the most thorough understanding of glacial lakes possible at this time, including the actual risks that they pose as well as the most appropriate and community-based risk reduction strategies. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Source

Garrard R.,University of Bern | Kohler T.,University of Bern | Wiesmann U.,University of Bern | Price M.F.,University of the Highlands and Islands | And 2 more authors.
Eco.mont | Year: 2012

Efforts have been made to provide a scientific basis for using environmental services as a conceptual tool to enhance conservation and improve livelihoods in protected mountain areas (MtPAS). Little attention has been paid to participatory research or locals' concerns as environmental service (ES) users and providers. Such perspectives can illuminate the complex interplay between mountain ecosystems, environmental services and the determinants of human well-being. Repeat photography, long used in geographical fieldwork, is new as a qualitative research tool. This study uses a novel application of repeat photography as a diachronic photo-diary to examine local perceptions of change in ES in Sagarmatha National Park. Results show a consensus among locals on adverse changes to ES, particularly protection against natural hazards, such as landslides and floods, in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. We argue that our methodology could complement biophysical ecosystem assessments in MtPAS, especially since assessing ES, and acting on that, requires integrating diverse stakeholders' knowledge, recognizing power imbalances and grappling with complex social-ecological systems. © R. Garrard. Source

Garrard R.,University of Bern | Kohler T.,University of Bern | Wiesmann U.,University of Bern | Price M.F.,University of the Highlands and Islands | And 2 more authors.
Eco.mont | Year: 2012

Repeat photography reveals changes in Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park and Buffer Zone - a microcosm of the Himalayas. The principal author re-took historical photographs from the same viewpoints, illustrating cultural landscape change and persistence over 50 years. The photographs were then used as a basis for interviews with local people. The research also shed light on socio-economic change, particularly in land cover. It proved that repeat photography can rapidly provide important insights into landscape change patterns, cause, and management options. Source

This U.S.-Nepal award supports the workshop Adapting to a Changing Mountain World: Water as Resource and Threat in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya (HKH) and Andes Mountains, Kathmandu, September 2011. The workshop focuses on glacial recession and new lake formation resulting from changing mountain climate and the subsequent impact on water resources and local communities in the HKH and Andes mountains. Organized by Drs. Alton Byers, The Mountain Institute and Daene McKinney, University of Texas at Austin, the two-phased field expedition and Kathmandu-based workshop will bring together researchers, graduate students, practitioners, policy makers and local decision makers from the U.S., Nepal, and Peru to advance understanding of climate change in mountain regions and the impacts on water resources. It will also promote dialogue among interdisciplinary participants - geographers, hydrologists, civil and environmental engineers, glaciologists on vulnerability and adaptation options, and new field-based international collaborative research projects that address research priorities and facilitate glacial lake hazard reduction.

This workshop will make important contributions to fundamental knowledge about climate change in mountain regions, glacier retreat, lake formation, water supply and societal impacts through scientific collaboration and the exchange of technical and social perspectives among Andean, HKH, and North American researchers and practitioners. The South-South format will provide a venue for Peruvian glaciologists, now recognized as a world leader in tropical glacier research and glacial lake engineering, to share their knowledge beyond Peruvian borders with environmental engineers in other mountain regions. For the US PhD students, all of whom are conducting dissertation research on topics related to adaptation to climate change in high mountain regions, the workshop will stimulate further development of their research, provide an opportunity to make significant contributions to proposal development at the workshop, and facilitate an expanded network of professional contacts and mentoring relationships. Also, new interdisciplinary research and field projects of potential interest to NSF, USAID, and participating countries, is an important expected outcome.

Adapting to a Changing Mountain World is a direct result of the NSF-USAID funded workshop in Peru, July 2009, where all participants strongly recommended that a second workshop be held in the HKH region in 2011 based on the principles of Andean-Himalayan collaboration and exchange. This will directly facilitate the exchange of technical and social experience in mitigating the impacts of new glacial lakes and how people in both regions are adapting to water related challenges. Key funding partners are: NSF, USAID, DOS, and the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

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