From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Glacial Lake Outburst Floods
Mains level : Paper 3- Mitigating glacial lake outburst flood events
Melting of glaciers in Himalaya and GLOFs
- The Himalayan region is home to the largest ice mass outside of the planet’s Polar Regions.
- The glaciers in the Himalayas are melting at a faster rate creating new lakes and expanding the existing ones.
- The rising temperatures and extreme precipitation events make the region increasingly prone to a variety of natural hazards, including devastating glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs).
- GLOFs occur when either a natural dam containing a glacial lake bursts or when the lake’s level suddenly increases and overflows its banks, leading to catastrophic downstream destruction.
- However, the remote, challenging Himalayan terrain and the overall lack of cellular connectivity throughout the region have made the development of early flood warning systems virtually impossible.
- In their recent work the Scientists point out that the surge of meltwater in mountain streams is most commonly caused by cloud-burst events during the monsoon season (June–July–August) time frame.
Satelitte-based real-time monitoring
- Satellite-based real-time monitoring of Himalayan glacial catchments would improve understanding of flood risk in the region and help inform an early flood warning system that could help curb disaster and save human lives, says a recent study.
- This should be the future strategy to reduce loss of human lives during glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF), said a study carried out by scientists from IIT Kanpur.
- The IIT Kanpur team suggests that efforts to help mitigate GLOF events in the future should include the creation of a network of satellite-based monitoring stations that could provide in situ and real-time data on GLOF risk.
- The integration of monitoring devices with satellite networks will not only provide telemetry support in remote locations that lack complete cellular connectivity but will also provide greater connectivity in coverage in the cellular dead zones in extreme topographies such as valleys, cliffs, and steep slopes.