GS Paper 1
Syllabus: Disaster Management/Geography
Context: The article highlights GLOF, associated risks and risk mitigation.
What is a GLOF?
- A GLOF is a sudden release of water from a lake fed by glacier melt
- Threatens people’s lives, livelihoods and regional infrastructure.
- In the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH), GLOF events can be traced back to the failure of moraine-dammed glacial lakes
- The pressure on the dam, water seeping through the structure, fragmentation of the source glacier, landslides, etc., can trigger a GLOF.
- The frequency of GLOFs is expected to increase due to climate change.
- The majority of the globally exposed population is located in the region of high mountain Asia and more than 50% in India, Pakistan, Peru and China.
- The population exposed to GLOFs increases with distance from a glacial lake.
- Rapid deglaciation over the last 20 years has led to the growth of many large glacial lakes.
- Increase in the population living in close proximity to glacial lakes between 2002 to 2022.
Situation in India:
- According to the ICIMOD, Himalayan glacial lakes increased by about 9% in number, and 14% in the area.
- The best-studied glacier is north India’s Chhota Shigri, which has lost three times its mass.
- The rapid onset of GLOFs means there is insufficient time to effectively warn downstream populations.
- Studying glaciers through satellite observations.
- Learning past events and their dynamics will help in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in the region.
Conclusion: Improvements are urgently needed in designing early warning systems alongside evacuation drills and other forms of community outreach.
Q. What is Glacial Lake Outburst Flooding? Examine the vulnerabilities of hydropower projects in the Himalayan eco-sensitive region and suggest measures to overcome the same.