31 May 2022
31 May 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Progress and challenges in glacial lake outburst flood research (2017–2021): a research community perspective

Adam Emmer1, Simon K. Allen2,3, Mark Carey4, Holger Frey2, Christian Huggel2, Oliver Korup5,6, Martin Mergili1, Ashim Sattar2, Georg Veh5, Thomas Y. Chen7, Simon J. Cook8,9, Mariana Correas-Gonzalez10, Soumik Das11, Alejandro Diaz Moreno12, Fabian Drenkhan2,32, Melanie Fischer5, Walter W. Immerzeel13, Eñaut Izagirre14, Ramesh Chandra Joshi15, Ioannis Kougkoulos16, Riamsara Kuyakanon Knapp17,18, Dongfeng Li19, Ulfat Majeed20, Stephanie Matti21, Holly Moulton22, Faezeh Nick13, Valentine Piroton23, Irfan Rashid20, Masoom Reza15, Anderson Ribeiro de Figueiredo24, Christian Riveros25,26, Finu Shrestha27, Milan Shrestha28, Jakob Steiner27, Noah Walker-Crawford29, Joanne L. Wood30, and Jacob C. Yde31 Adam Emmer et al.
  • 1Institute of Geography and Regional Science, University of Graz, Graz, Austria
  • 2Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 3Institute of Environmental Science, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
  • 4Environmental Studies Program and Geography Department, University of Oregon, Eugene, USA
  • 5Institute of Environmental Science and Geography, University Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany
  • 6Institute of Geosciences, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany
  • 7Columbia University, New York, USA
  • 8Geography and Environmental Science, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK
  • 9UNESCO Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science, University of Dundee, Dundee, UK
  • 10Insituto Argentino de Nivología Glaciología y Ciencias Ambientales (IANIGLA) – CONICET, UNCUYO, Gobierno de Mendoza, Mendoza, Argentina
  • 11Center for the Study of Regional Development, JNU, New Delhi, India
  • 12Reynolds International Ltd., Mold, UK
  • 13Faculty of Geosciences, University Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • 14Department of Geology, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Leioa, Spain
  • 15Department of Geography, Kumaun University, Nainital, India
  • 16Department of Science and Mathematics, The American College of Greece, Greece
  • 17Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  • 18Department of Culture and Oriental Languages (IKOS), University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • 19Department of Geography, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore
  • 20Department of Geoinformatics, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, India
  • 21University of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland
  • 22Environmental Studies Program, University of Oregon, Eugene, USA
  • 23University of Liege, Liege, Belgium
  • 24Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brasil
  • 25Instituto Nacional de Investigación en Glaciares y Ecosistemas de Montaña (INAIGEM), Lima, Peru
  • 26National Agrarian University La Molina, Lima, Peru
  • 27International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Káthmándú, Nepal
  • 28School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, USA
  • 29University College London, London, UK
  • 30Centre for Geography and Environmental Science, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
  • 31Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Bergen, Norway
  • 32Geography and Environmental Studies, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Lima, Peru

Abstract. Glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) are among the most concerning consequences of retreating glaciers in mountain ranges worldwide. GLOFs have attracted significant attention amongst scientists and practitioners in the past few decades, with particular interests in the physical drivers and mechanisms of GLOF hazard, and socioeconomic and other human-related developments that affect vulnerability to GLOF events. This increased research focus on GLOFs is reflected in the gradually increasing number of papers published annually. This study offers an overview of recent GLOF research by analysing 570 peer-reviewed GLOF studies published between 2017 and 2021 (Web of Science and Scopus databases), reviewing the content, geographical focus as well as other characteristics of GLOF studies. This review is complemented with perspectives from the first GLOF conference (7–9 July 2021, online) where a global GLOF research community from major mountain regions gathered to discuss the current state of the art of integrated GLOF research. Therefore, representatives from 17 countries identified and elaborated trends and challenges and proposed possible ways forward to navigate future GLOF research, in four thematic areas: (i) understanding GLOFs – timing and processes; (ii) modelling GLOFs and GLOF process chains; (iii) GLOF risk management, prevention and warning; (iv) human dimensions of GLOFs and GLOF attribution to climate change.

Adam Emmer et al.

Status: open (until 12 Jul 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2022-143', Guoqing Zhang, 25 Jun 2022 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on nhess-2022-143', Anonymous Referee #2, 27 Jun 2022 reply

Adam Emmer et al.

Adam Emmer et al.


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Short summary
Floods from glacial lakes (GLOFs) attracted increased research attention recently. In this contribution, we review GLOF research papers published between 2017 and 2021 and compliment the analysis with research community insights gained from the 2021 Global GLOF conference we organized. Transdisciplinary character of the conference together with broad geographical coverage allowed us to identify progress, trends and challenges in GLOF research and outline future research needs and directions.