Friday, August 30, 2013

Glacial hazards in the Rolwaling valley of Nepal and numerical approach to predict potential outburst flood from glacial lake

In recent years, climate change and retreating glaciers constitute a major hazard in the Himalaya of South Asia. Glacial lakes are rapidly developing or increasing due to climate change. The rapid development of the lake may cause outburst of the lake. The outburst discharge from the glacial lake can cause catastrophic flooding and disaster in downstream area. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate the impact of climate change on glacial lakes and to understand the characteristics of the glacial lake outburst. In this study, the field assessment of Tsho Rolpa Glacial Lake in the Himalaya of Nepal has been presented and the impact of climate change on this glacial lake has been discussed. The Tsho Rolpa Glacial Lake is the largest and most potentially dangerous glacial lake in Nepal. In addition, a numerical model has been also developed for computing the characteristics of glacial lake outburst due to moraine dam failure by seepage and water overtopping. The numerical model is tested for the flume experimental cases. The simulated results of the outburst discharge, the dam surface erosion, and the temporal variation of the moisture movement in the dam are compared with those obtained from the hydraulic model experiments. The moisture profile calculated by numerical model was agreeable with the experimental moisture profile. The simulated failure surface of the dam due to seepage by considering the suction in slope stability analysis gave more agreeable results than the Janbu's simplified method. The results of the outburst discharge and dam surface erosion also agreed with the experimental results.

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