Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions ›› 2021, Vol. 13 ›› Issue (3): 206-219.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1226.2021.20076.

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Overview of an early warning system for Glacial Lake outburst flood risk mitigation in Dudh-Koshi Basin, Nepal

Sanjaya Gurung1(),Saroj Dhoj Joshi1,Binod Parajuli2   

  1. 1.Real Time Solutions Pvt. Ltd. , Lalitpur 44700, Nepal
    2.Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal
  • Received:2020-08-03 Accepted:2020-11-11 Online:2021-06-30 Published:2021-07-05
  • Contact: Sanjaya Gurung


Natural disasters inflict severe damage on almost the entire spectrum of social and natural habitats. This ranges from housing and shelter, water, food, health, sanitation to information and communication networks, supply of power and energy, transportation infrastructure, and others. Nepal is a risk prone country for Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF). GLOFs exist as major challenges as they repeatedly cause a heavy toll of life and property. During such a disaster, major challenges are indeed the protection of life, property and vital life-supporting infrastructure. Any delay or laxity in disaster relief can escalate the magnitude of distress for the victims. Thus, rather than trying to take curative measures, it is better to minimize the impacts of GLOF. These measures subsequently help in reducing the magnitude of death and casualties due to a GLOF event. This reduction of impact is often achieved by optimizing preventive measures. For applying necessary deterrent measures, it is essential to disseminate information about the danger beforehand. Early Warning System (EWS) is an important step for such information dissemination for GLOF disaster management and helps to anticipate the risk of disaster and disseminate information to lives at risk. It is impossible and impractical to reduce all GLOF risks, but it is possible to reduce several impacts of a GLOF through the implementation of the EWS. This paper presents the design and implementation of an EWS for monitoring potential outbursts of a glacier lake in the Dudh-Koshi Basin, Nepal.

Key words: glacier, climate change, early warning system, glacial lake outburst flood

Figure 1

Image of Imja Lake and the location of Hydrological and Meteorological Stations at Imja in the Dudh-Koshi Basin (a). Automatic Weather Station near Imja Glacial Lake (b). Automatic Hydrological Station at Imja Glacial Lake (c). Automatic Hydrological Station at Imja Glacial Lake Downstream (d)"

Figure 2

Location map of GLOF Detection Sensors at outlet and downstream of the Imja River"

Figure 3

Overview of GLOF Early Warning System"

Figure 4

Image of Wireless Remote Terminal Unit"

Figure 5

Radar Level Sensor (RLS)"

Figure 6

Automatic Weather Stations"

Figure 7

Overview of GLOF Sensing Stations"

Figure 8

RTDL-11 data logger"

Figure 9

Schematic diagrams of Omni directional horn speakers"

Figure 10

Overview of Data Acquisition Module"

Figure 11

Map View with Google Map Integration"

Figure 12

Graph View"

Figure 13

Flowchart of Automatic and Human Assisted Decision Support System Module"

Figure 14

Automatic early warning sirens in six prime settlements of Dingboche, Pangboche, Fungithanka, Jorsalle, Phakding, and Ghat have been installed to disseminate the alert"

Figure 15

Graph of water level at upstream and downstream of the Imja River"

Figure 16

Comparison of daily water level at outlet of Imja Glacial Lake for April, 2020"

Figure 17

Graph of meteorological parameters"

Figure 18

Distribution of wind rose at Imja Glacial Lake (August 17, 2019 to April 28, 2020)"

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