Glacial lakes of the Central and Patagonian Andes

Ryan Wilson, Neil F. Glasser, John M. Reynolds, Stephan Harrison, Pablo Iribarren Anacona, Marius Schaefer, Sarah Shannon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The prevalence and increased frequency of high-magnitude Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) in the Chilean and Argentinean Andes suggests this region will be prone to similar events in the future as glaciers continue to retreat and thin under a warming climate. Despite this situation, monitoring of glacial lake development in this region has been limited, with past investigations only covering relatively small regions of Patagonia. This study presents new glacial lake inventories for 1986, 2000 and 2016, covering the Central Andes, Northern Patagonia and Southern Patagonia. Our aim was to characterise the physical attributes, spatial distribution and temporal development of glacial lakes in these three sub-regions using Landsat satellite imagery and image datasets available in Google Earth and Bing Maps. Glacial lake water volume was also estimated using an empirical area-volume scaling approach. Results reveal that glacial lakes across the study area have increased in number (43%) and areal extent (7%) between 1986 and 2016. Such changes equate to a glacial lake water volume increase of 65 km3 during the 30-year observation period. However, glacial lake growth and emergence was shown to vary sub-regionally according to localised topography, meteorology, climate change, rate of glacier change and the availability of low gradient ice areas. These and other factors are likely to influence the occurrence of GLOFs in the future. This analysis represents the first large-scale census of glacial lakes in Chile and Argentina and will allow for a better understanding of lake development in this region, as well as, providing a basis for future GLOF risk assessments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-291
Number of pages17
JournalGlobal and Planetary Change
Volume162
Early online date31 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes

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glacial lake
outburst
lake water
glacier
meteorology
satellite imagery
Landsat
census
risk assessment
warming
topography
spatial distribution
ice

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Wilson, R., Glasser, N. F., Reynolds, J. M., Harrison, S., Anacona, P. I., Schaefer, M., & Shannon, S. (2018). Glacial lakes of the Central and Patagonian Andes. Global and Planetary Change, 162, 275-291. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloplacha.2018.01.004
Wilson, Ryan ; Glasser, Neil F. ; Reynolds, John M. ; Harrison, Stephan ; Anacona, Pablo Iribarren ; Schaefer, Marius ; Shannon, Sarah. / Glacial lakes of the Central and Patagonian Andes. In: Global and Planetary Change. 2018 ; Vol. 162. pp. 275-291.
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Wilson, R, Glasser, NF, Reynolds, JM, Harrison, S, Anacona, PI, Schaefer, M & Shannon, S 2018, 'Glacial lakes of the Central and Patagonian Andes', Global and Planetary Change, vol. 162, pp. 275-291. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloplacha.2018.01.004

Glacial lakes of the Central and Patagonian Andes. / Wilson, Ryan; Glasser, Neil F.; Reynolds, John M.; Harrison, Stephan; Anacona, Pablo Iribarren; Schaefer, Marius; Shannon, Sarah.

In: Global and Planetary Change, Vol. 162, 01.03.2018, p. 275-291.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Wilson R, Glasser NF, Reynolds JM, Harrison S, Anacona PI, Schaefer M et al. Glacial lakes of the Central and Patagonian Andes. Global and Planetary Change. 2018 Mar 1;162:275-291. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloplacha.2018.01.004