This project is concerned with local scale glacier response to climate change, and focuses on the development of techniques for improved assessment and prediction of glacial lake outburst hazards. In mountain regions, potentially hazardous moraine-dammed glacial lakes are becoming increasingly common due to climatically driven glacier recession. Such large bodies of water, in remote mountainous locations, require large scale, and often expensive, mitigation strategies to reduce the potential hazard. Currently, it is not possible to precisely predict where or when hazards will develop, because insufficient is known about the processes driving lake expansion and very little is known about the structural integrity of the moraine dams. The overall aim of this project is to develop new tools to determine the internal structure and geotechnical properties of moraine and ice dams, and to understand the controls on lake expansion rates. Innovative geophysical techniques will be employed in combination with remote sensing and mapping methods, working towards the development of fully quantitative predictive models of glacial lake outburst. Techniques will be developed on accessible, analogous moraine systems in Svalbard and applied on the terminal zone of Ngozumpa Glacier, Nepal, where a moraine-dammed lake has begun rapid growth. Due to the importance of glacier systems in amplifying the impacts of warming, there is a particular need for highly trained glaciologists with a strong focus on practical applications of front-line science. The international collaborations and publications from this project will showcase and area of excellence in the European Research Area on an international stage. The world class training facilities and vigorous research culture at UNIS provides a unique environment for nurturing talented early-career scientists, enabling the applicant to fully develop the skill set and intellectual rigor needed to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.
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