India: high heat causes the rupture of glacial lakes in the Himalayas

For weeks, India, but also Pakistan, have been hit by a heat wave suffocating. The consequence, probably not yet sufficiently known, is the sudden rupture of glacial lakes. One of them occurred this Saturday, May 7, 2022. That of a lake which had formed on the glacier Ship. The floods massive attacks that followed partially destroyed the Karakoram road bridge. But fortunately, there is no other damage to deplore.

On site, experts note that Shisper Glacier Lake — such lakes can form at the foot of, on, in or even under a glacier from melted ice — appeared this year no less than a month earlier. than usual. The heat which settled in the area caused the water to rise to an unusual level. More than 40% over the last twenty days. For a total level of 15% higher than that recorded over the past three years.

What is most worrying is that other glacial lakes of the same type – some estimate their number at no less than 33 – could suffer the same fate in the days to come. In the regions most at risk, populations have been relocated as a preventive measure.

Among the possibilities of adaptations — which do not solve the fundamental problem of global warmingbut preserves the populations as much as possible from its effects: the drainage glacial lakes. Like what was done under the Tête Rousse glacier in the Alps. A tunnel to evacuate pockets of water. And to contain the risk a little more, titanic pumping operations.

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