Updated Inventory of Glacial Lakes in Teesta Basin Using Remote Sensing Data for Use in GLOF Risk Assessment
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Detailed inventory of glacial lakes in a Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) prone area is vital for disaster mitigation. Availability of cheaper high resolution satellite data from Indian remote sensing satellites enables us to create up-to-date inventory for use in prioritisation of glacial lakes for GLOF risk assessment. Earlier inventories show presence of more glacial lakes in Brahmaputra basin in Indian Himalaya. Teesta River is one of the tributary of Brahmaputra and previous studies have shown that the inventory of glacial lakes in Teesta basin varies from 143 to 320. In the present study, the inventory carried out using satellite data of years 2000, 2007 and 2014 show presence of 301 (25.789 km2), 302 (26.081 km2) and 644 (29.706 km2) glacial lakes in Teesta basin respectively. The steep increase in number of lakes in the latest inventory is primarily due to the finer spatial resolution of satellite data used. Analysis of water spread area of glacial lakes at different altitudes shows that most of the lakes in the higher altitudes are small in size. It is observed that more than 66% of lakes are in the altitude beyond 4500 m and of size less than 50,000 sqm (5 ha). Out of 301 glacial lakes inventoried during 2000, water spread area of 6 lakes have decreased in 2014 and 31 lakes have shown increase in area. Out of these 31 lakes, 17 lakes are classified as end moraine dammed lakes and among them, 14 are located in Upper Teesta sub-basin and in higher altitudes (beyond 5000 m). The prioritisation of these lakes for GLOF risk needs to be carried out with detailed field investigation.
KeywordsGlacial Lake GLOF Teesta Disaster Remote sensing Risk assessment
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