Glaciers in Altai are undergoing rapid recession in response to climate change and this has helped produce numerous glacial lakes (GL) many of which are dammed by moraines and are likely to drain catastrophically if the moraine dams fail.
Despite the importance of these lakes many issues remain to be addressed regarding their future behavior and risks associated with Glacial Lakes Outburst Floods (GLOFs). For example it's not known how many GL in Altai are growing and whether they are becoming more or less vulnerable to rapid drainage.
Therefore it's not known which GL can cause GLOF, and not known whether the risk of GLOF is increasing or decreasing.
This project will provide answers to questions about development of dangerous GL in Altai and will conduct the first complete inventory of GL in Russian, Mongolian and Chinese Altai, assess their size over time in response to recent glacial declines, assess changes in their vulnerability to sudden drainage, and identify sites that could lead to the development of glacial hazards in the future.
For the first time will be made the hazard assessment of potential Altai GLOFs and will be applied numerical models to simulate GLOFs in high-risk areas and use these models to generate GLOF hazard maps and flood risk forecasts.
The project will establish dialog with profile Departments of Regional Governments and local communities to coordinate GLOF response for reduce or eliminate the imminent threat.