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2019-03-01. The Dangers of Glacial Lake Floods: Pioneering and Capitulation.

posted Mar 9, 2019, 12:15 PM by Alan Gould
By Jane Palmer, Eos/AGU. [https://eos.org/features/the-dangers-of-glacial-lake-floods-pioneering-and-capitulation] For GSS Climate Change chapter 8. Excerpt: In 1941, an ice avalanche triggered what is known as a glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) from Lake Palcacocha. ...The flood killed an estimated 4,000 people in Huaraz, a third of its population at the time. Such GLOFs have plagued glaciated mountain ranges in places such as Canada, Italy, Nepal, and Bhutan, but the world’s most fatal GLOFs have occurred in Peru. ...Peruvian geologist Jorge Broggi deduced that the hazards developed after the end of the Little Ice Age, around 1850. The glacial lakes began to form as the climate naturally warmed, and as they grew, the stress on their natural dams of rocks and debris, or moraines, which sometimes have a core of melting ice, also grew. In 1951, when the Peruvian government realized the full extent of the problem, it launched the Control Commission of Cordillera Blanca Lakes to assess the situation and mitigate lakes that posed a threat. Over the next several decades, led by this commission or other official bodies, Peru drained or built dams at almost 40 lakes in the Cordillera Blanca. ...In the past few decades, however, the increasingly warming climate has caused the volume of the glacial lakes in Cordillera Blanca to expand rapidly. ...Consequently, glacial lake hazard mitigation needs to evolve. “While the early efforts of glacial lake mitigation focused on reducing the dangers posed by erodible moraines and high lake levels, anthropogenic climate change is now challenging researchers to take a broader perspective,” said glaciologist John Reynolds, .... That perspective encompasses another growing hazard caused by melting glaciers: water scarcity....