Glacial lake hazards

As climate warms, glaciers are receding and exposing overdeepenings that can fill with water to create hazardous lakes. I am working on several projects looking at glacier lake evolution in time and space. I am working on projects in Yukon, BC, and the Himalaya. My colleagues and I are using Google Earth Engine to harness Big Data in order to understand glacial lake evolution across the entire Himalayan region, for example.

A silty glacier-dammed lake of the Brady Glacier, Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska. These glacial lakes can become hazardous if they burst their icy banks and cause floods downstream. The Brady Glacier is the largest glacier in the Park, measuring 40 miles (25 km) long.


Capps, D.L., Rabus, B.T., Clague, J.J. and Shugar, D.H. 2010. Identification and characterization of alpine subglacial lakes using interferometric synthetic aperture Radar (InSAR), Brady Glacier, Alaska, USA. J. Glaciology, 56:861-870. DOI: 10.3189/002214310794457254

Harrison, S., Kargel, J., Huggel, C., Reynolds, J., Shugar, D.H., Betts, R.A., Emmer, A., Glasser, N., Haritashya, U.K., Klimes, J., Reinhardt, L., Schaub, Y., Wiltshire, A., Regmi, D., and Vilimek, V., In press. Climate change and the global pattern of moraine-dammed glacial lake outburst floods. The Cryosphere. DOI: 10.5194/tc-2017-203

Kargel, J.S., Leonard, G.J., Shugar, D.H., Haritashya, U.K., and 60 others, 2016. Geomorphic and geologic controls of geohazards induced by Nepal’s 2015 Gorkha earthquake. Science, 351: 140. DOI: 10.1126/science.aac8353

Shugar, D.H., Clague, J.J., Best, J.L., Schoof, C., Willis, M.J., Copland, L., and Roe, G.H, 2017. River piracy and drainage basin reorganization led by climate-driven glacier retreat. Nature Geoscience, 10: 370-375. DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2932