Dissertation Progress

I thought it would be nice to post the map that I am working on that makes up a crucial part of my dissertation project The aim of the project is to identify where glacial lakes may pose a risk of catastrophic drainage and the route they would take using the integration of remote sensing and geographical information systems in the Burang valley in Western Tibet. This area is just north of western Nepal and the area is known for having previous glacier lake outburst floods.

So far I have identified 51 glacier using remotely sensed imagery from the Landsat Missions. Using some. I have mapped these lakes over five different years: 1994; 1999; 2005; 2009 and 2015. Due to warming global temperatures many scientists have found that glaciers in the Himalayas have undergone increased retreat causing pro-glacial lakes to build to dangerous levels which can catastrophically drain. Needless to say this can cause a lot of damage and loss of life downstream.

This is the map that I have produced so far  

Glacial Lakes from 2015.

This map has the glacier lakes from 2015 mapped on it, the glaciers from the GLIM's database, the major road(s), bridges and settlements in the valley that would be affected a GLOF. It also shows the streams and rivers routes any GLOF would take.

This cut out below shows how the some of the lakes have increased since 1994.

As can be seen some of the glacial lakes have expanded rapidly although some have stayed relatively the same size. From analysis of the imagery it can be seen that those that have stayed the same size have good drainage networks and those that have increased in size do not and are often dammed by pro-glacial moraines (sediment deposited by the glacier).

It is now time to crunch numbers regarding the lake volumes to see which have increased rapidly and and are potentially dangerous and if they would cause any damage to the settlements and infrastructures downstream.