2020
  • Non-ICIMOD publication

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Risks of glaciers lakes outburst flood along China Pakistan economic corridor

  • Muhammad Saifullah
  • Shiyin Liu
  • Muhammad Adnan
  • Muhammad Ashraf
  • Muhammad Zaman
  • Sarfraz Hashim
  • Sher Muhammad
  • Summary

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes through the Hunza River basin of Pakistan. The current study investigates the creation and effects of end moraine, supra-glacial, and barrier lakes by field visits and remote sensing techniques along the CPEC in the Hunza River basin. The surging and moraine type glaciers are considered the most dangerous type of glaciers that cause Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) in the study basin. It can be concluded from the 40 years observations of Karakoram glaciers that surge-type and non-surge-type glaciers are not significantly different with respect to mass change. The recurrent surging of Khurdopin Glacier resulted in the creation of Khurdopin Glacial Lake in the Shimshal valley of the Hunza River basin. Such glacial lakes offer main sources of freshwater; however, when their dams are suddenly breached and water drained, catastrophic GLOFs appear and pose a great threat to people and infrastructure in downstream areas. This situation calls for an in-depth study on GLOF risks along the CPEC route and incorporation of GLOF for future policy formulation in the country for the CPEC project so that the government may take serious action for prevention, response to GLOFs, and rehabilitation and reconstruction of the areas.