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Enhancing Glacial Lake Monitoring for Early Warning Systems.



  Oct 20, 2023

Glacial Lake Monitoring and Early Warning Systems:



Why is there a need to monitor glacial lakes in India?

Answer: There are 56 at-risk glacial lakes in India, and the need to monitor them has increased due to the recent burst of Lhonak Lake, causing widespread damage. Monitoring these lakes is crucial to prevent and mitigate potential flood disasters.

What recent initiative is India undertaking regarding glacial lake monitoring?

Answer: India is working on a pilot project in collaboration with Swiss experts to establish the country's first early warning systems at vulnerable glacial lakes, including Lhonak Lake and Shako Cho Lake. These systems could provide advance warning before floods occur.

Who is coordinating the glacial lake monitoring project in India?

Answer: India's National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is coordinating the project in collaboration with Indian and international institutes.

How will the priority glacial lakes for monitoring be determined?

Answer: State governments will provide recommendations on which of the 56 at-risk glacial lakes in India should be prioritized for the installation of monitoring systems.

What is the timeline for setting up the monitoring systems?

Answer: Authorities aim to set up some of these monitoring systems by next year, with a focus on monitoring weather and environmental conditions at the lakes. The full-fledged early warning system will be installed based on the monitoring outcomes.

What are the challenges in implementing these monitoring systems?

Answer: Implementing monitoring systems in high mountain regions is challenging due to the difficult access, which is typically limited to the summer months. Additionally, these systems will be unmanned and run on solar or battery power.

Why is monitoring glacial lakes important in the context of climate change?

Answer: As climate change warms high mountain regions, glacial lakes pose a higher risk of outburst floods (GLOFs). Monitoring these lakes is crucial to mitigate the dangers posed by such floods to Himalayan communities.

What is the current status of glacial flood early warning systems in India compared to its neighboring countries?

Answer: India lags behind its South Asian neighbors in deploying glacial flood early warning systems, even though more than 200 such lakes pose a high hazard to Himalayan communities in the region.

These early warning systems are essential for disaster preparedness and ensuring the safety of vulnerable areas in the face of climate change-induced challenges.

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