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Mass Movement Hazard and Exposure in the Himalaya

Dubey, S and Sattar, A and Goyal, MK and Allen, S and Frey, H and Haritashya, UK and Huggel, C (2023) Mass Movement Hazard and Exposure in the Himalaya. In: Earth's Future, 11 (9).

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1029/2022EF003253


Himalaya is experiencing frequent catastrophic mass movement events such as avalanches and landslides, causing loss of human lives and infrastructure. Millions of people reside in critical zones potentially exposed to such catastrophes. Despite this, a comprehensive assessment of mass movement exposure is lacking at a regional scale. Here, we developed a novel method of determining mass movement trajectories and applied it to the Himalayan Mountain ranges for the first time to quantify the exposure of infrastructure, waterways, roadways, and population in six mountain ranges, including Hindu Kush, Karakoram, western Himalaya, eastern Himalaya, central Himalaya, and Hengduan Shan. Our results reveal that the exposure of buildings and roadways to mass movements is highest in Karakoram, whereas central Himalaya has the highest exposed waterways. The hotspots of exposed roadways are concentrated in Nepal, the North Indian states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, the Union Territory of Ladakh, and China's Sichuan Province. Our analysis shows that the population in the central Himalaya is currently at the highest exposure to mass movement impacts. Projected future populations based on Shared Socio-economic and Representative Concentration Pathways suggest that changing settlement patterns and emission scenarios will significantly influence the potential impact of these events on the human population. Assessment of anticipated secondary hazards (glacial lake outburst floods) shows an increase in probable headward impacts of mass movements on glacial lakes in the future. Our findings will support researchers, policymakers, stakeholders, and local governments in identifying critical areas that require detailed investigation for risk reduction and mitigation. © 2023 The Authors. Earth's Future published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Geophysical Union.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Earth's Future
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons Inc
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to the Authors.
Keywords: avalanche; emission; future prospect; landslide; mass movement; outburst; policy making, China; Hengduan Mountains; Himachal Pradesh; Himalayas; Hindu Kush; India; Karakoram; Nepal; Sichuan; Uttarakhand
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Divecha Centre for Climate Change
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2023 04:19
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2023 04:19
URI: https://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/83196

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