The Himalayas have experienced several glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs), and the risk of GLOFs is now increasing in the context of global warming. Poiqu watershed in the Tibet Autonomous Region, China, also known as the Bhote Koshi and Sun Koshi downstream in Nepal, has been identified as highly prone to GLOFs. This study explored the distribution of and changes in glacial lakes, past GLOFs and the resulting losses, risk from potential future GLOFs, and risk reduction initiatives within the watershed. A relationship was established between lake area and volume of lake water based on data from 33 lakes surveyed within the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, and the maximum possible discharge was estimated using this and other previously developed empirical equations. We recommend different strategies to reduce GLOF risk and highlight the need for a glacial lake monitoring and early-warning system. We also recommend strong regional cooperation, especially on issues related to transboundary rivers.
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