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Glaciers, glacial lakes and glacial lake outburst floods in the Mount Everest region, Nepal

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Recent climate changes have had a significant impact on the high-mountain glacial environment. Rapid melting of glaciers has resulted in the formation and expansion of moraine-dammed lakes, creating a potential danger from glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs). Most lakes have formed during the second half of the 20th century. Glaciers in the Mount Everest (Sagamartha) region, Nepal, are retreating at an average rate of 10–59 m a–1. From 1976 to 2000, Lumding and Imja Glaciers retreated 42 and 34 m a–1, respectively, a rate that increased to 74 m a–1 for both glaciers from 2000 to 2007. During the past decade, Himalayan glaciers have generally been shrinking and retreating faster while moraine-dammed lakes have been proliferating. Although the number of lakes above 3500 m a.s.l. has decreased, the overall area of moraine-dammed lakes is increasing. Understanding the behaviour of glaciers and glacial lakes is a vital aspect of GLOF disaster management.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2009

More about this publication?
  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

    Themes can be on any aspect of the study of snow and ice. Individual members can make a suggestion for a theme for an Annals issue to the Secretary General, who will forward it to the IGS Publications Committee. The IGS Publication Committee will make a recommendation for an individual themed Annals issue, together with a potential Annals Chief Editor for that issue, to IGS Council. The IGS Council will make the decision whether to proceed, taking into account the spread of topics and the overall capacity for publication of pages in Annals.

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