After a long gap, scientists in Nepal have embarked on the first field studies of Himalayan glacial lakes, some of which are feared to be swelling dangerously due to global warming.
In May, they completed the field visit to the first location, a lake in the Everest region, in a series of studies.
They plan to conduct similar surveys of two other glacial lakes in the central and western part of the Nepalese Himalayas later in the year.
“We have started with Nepal, but we intend to extend studies to other Hindu Kush Himalayan countries,” says Arun Bhakta Shrestha, a climate change specialist with the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), which is carrying out the research alongside a number of government agencies.
“This is a part of our regional assessment of the floods such lakes can cause if they burst.”
The Hindu Kush Himalayan region stretches between Burma in the east to Afghanistan in the west, showcasing spectacular snow-clad mountains, some of which are the world’s highest.
Having returned from their first field visit, the scientists are now grappling with the data they collected on the body of water, known as Imja lake.
It will take some time before they release their final conclusions.
But, sharing his initial observations, Pradeep Mool, a remote sensing specialist with the ICIMOD, said there was an air of change in and around Lake Imja.
“The area of the lake has become bigger and there are some changes in its end moraines [accumulations of debris].”
But, he added, “I would not call it alarming