skip to Main Content

Report by Ali Rehmat Musofer

My GIS Service Pledge was related to the study of glacial lake formation and glacial lake outburst flooding (GLOF) in Khurdupin-Shimshal. Glacial lakes form when glaciers surge and then retreat, forming lakes dammed by the glacier’s moraine, and GLOF events occur when those dams fail and the water is discharged suddenly. I planned to monitor the threat, risks, and the pre- and post-disaster situation in the Hunza Valley in Karakoram, Pakistan, to assist the communities affected by the threat of a GLOF event.

Glacial lake formation at Khurdupin Glacier in early February. Photo courtesy of Rehmat Ullah Baig, a local climber and social worker who visited the area regularly and reported observations to authorities).

The glacier was predicted to form a huge lake and then burst in June or later. Instead, the glacial lake never reached its expected size and discharged gradually much earlier than predicted. The exact date of the discharge event is not known because the area is very difficult to access and satellite imagery is very expensive, but it occurred sometime between early February and mid-March, according to observations made by climber and social worker Rehmat Ullah Baig.

By March 21st, the glacial lake had already discharged. (Photo credit: Rehmat Ullah Baig, pictured.)

Because of the early discharge, I was not able to complete my work on that project. There is still the possibility of such events in the future, but it is very expensive to get the updated satellite images to analyze change.

I plan to apply to the GIS Service Pledge program again for another project on conservation in our community. We want to monitor the wildlife population and movement in other conservancy areas. More information about GLOF events and conservation efforts in the Hunza Valley is available here.

Back To Top