Evaluating the scale and potential of GLOF in the bhutan himalayas using a satellite-based integral glacier-glacial lake inventory

Hiroto Nagai, Jinro Ukita, Chiyuki Narama, Koji Fujita, Akiko Sakai, Takeo Tadono, Tsutomu Yamanokuchi, Nobuhiro Tomiyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


A comprehensive glacier-glacial lake inventory was developed for the Bhutan Himalayas based on satellite observations between 1987-1990 and 2006-2011. In total, 733 lakes (covering 82.6 km2) were delineated between 4000 and 6000 m a.s.l. and their relationships to associated glaciers were documented. Using this new inventory, the scale and potential for glacial lake outburst flooding (GLOF) based on multiple criteria was examined. This included a history of connectivity characteristics of glacial lakes to mother glaciers, potential flood volumes, and debris-cover of mother glaciers in addition to the conventional criteria of expansion rate and lake size. The majority of the lakes with high expansion rates (more than double in size) and large areas (>0.1 km2) met the conditions of being continuously in contact with a mother debris-covered glacier for nearly 20 years. Based on these multiple criteria, two lakes were identified as having potential for large-scale GLOF. Potentially dangerous glacial lakes listed in the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) study were re-visited, and some overlaps with the glacier-glacial lake inventory were found.

Original languageEnglish
Article number77
JournalGeosciences (Switzerland)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sep 1
Externally publishedYes



  • ALOS
  • Glacial lake inventory
  • Glacier inventory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

Cite this