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Integrated risk assessment of glacier lake outburst flood (GLOF) disaster over the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau (QTP)

Abstract

The study analyzed synthetically spatiotemporal distribution and evolution status of moraine-dammed lakes and potential dangerous glacial lakes (PDGLs) in the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau (QTP) and revealed integrated risk degree of county-based glacier lake outburst floods (GLOFs) disaster by combining hazard of PDGLs, regional exposure, vulnerability of exposed elements, and adaptability and using the analytic hierarchy process and weighted comprehensive method. The results show there are 654 moraine-dammed lakes (> 0.018 km2) with a total area of 200.25 km2 in the QTP in the 2010s, of which 246 lakes with a total area of 78.38 km2 are identified as PDGLs. Compared with 1990s, the number of lakes decreased only by 2.22%, whereas total lake area expanded by 25%. All PDGLs area increased by 84.40% and was higher significantly than 4.06% of non-PDGLs. The zones at very high and high integrated risk of GLOF disasters are concentrated on the middle Himalayas, middle-eastern Nyainqentanglha, and southern Tanggula Mountain. On the county scale, Nyalam, Tingri, Dinggyê, Lhozhag, Zhongba, Gamba, Kangma of the Himalayas, and Nierong, Dingqing, Banbar, Baqing, Bomi, and Basu of the Nyainqentanglha are located in the very high-risk zone, whereas other areas have low and very low integrated risk. The regionalization results for GLOF disasters risk are consistent with the distribution of historical GLOF disaster sites.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Strategic priority research program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDA19070503), the State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Science (SKLCS-ZZ-2020) and and National Social Science Foundation of China (Grant No.14BGL137). We also thank the anonymous reviewers for helpful comments and suggestions, which considerably improved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Shijin Wang.

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Wang, S., Che, Y. & Xinggang, M. Integrated risk assessment of glacier lake outburst flood (GLOF) disaster over the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau (QTP). Landslides 17, 2849–2863 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10346-020-01443-1

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Keywords

  • Moraine-dammed lake
  • PDGL
  • Disaster risk assessment
  • Risk regionalization
  • Qinghai–Tibetan plateau