Regional Resource Centre for the Asia and the Pacific


Glacial Lake Outburst Flood Monitoring and Early Warning System in Hindu Kush Himalayas

1998- 1999
Environmental Governance;

The global climatic change during the first half of the twentieth century has brought a tremendous impact on the high mountainous glacial environment. Many of the big glaciers melted rapidly and gave birth to the origin of a large number of glacier lakes. Due to the faster rate of ice and snow melting, possibly caused by the global warming, the accumulation of water in these lakes has been increasing rapidly and resulting sudden discharge of large volumes of water and debris and causing flooding in the downstream. In South Asia, particularly in the Himalayan region, it has been observed that the frequency of the occurrence of GLOF events has been increasing in the second half of the twentieth century. The recent catastrophic GLOF event in the Nepal Himalaya known as the Dig Tsho GLOF in 1985, has destroyed the Namche small hydel project that was built at the cost of US$ 1.5 million approximately. Accurate and timely information on the spatial locations and regular monitoring of the glacier lakes' behavior is needed, to prevent and monitor the GLOF hazards and assess the damages to be occurred in the near future. Modern information tools such as Remote Sensing and GIS could play a lead role in identifying potential risk lakes and monitoring the GLOF events in near real time.


The broad goal of the project is prepare an operational early warning system for Glacier Lake Outburst Flooding hazards. The specific objectives are:

  • Inventorying of existing glacier lakes along the Hindu Kush Himalayas (Nepal and Bhutan)
  • Monitoring of potential risk lakes for draining; and
  • Preparation of an operational early warning mechanism for GLOF hazards.
Created at 2/2/2015 5:37 PM by Sengja Jangmaw
Last modified at 7/18/2015 12:29 PM by System Account