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ONEPlanet DTP - Remote sensing and in-situ data-driven glacial lake monitoring and hazard assessment (OP2184)

Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering

Monday, January 18, 2021 Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Catastrophic glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) pose a risk to life and can cause significant damage to downstream infrastructure, settlements, and property in mountainous regions. GLOF frequency is anticipated to increase in coming decades and into the next century as lakes develop and expand and become increasingly exposed to climate-related triggers (e.g. ice-cored moraine degradation, permafrost thaw-induced rock avalanches). The current generation of Earth observation (EO), such as satellite imagery, is well suited for improving the robustness and spatial resolution of lake hazard assessments. The project will focus on existing glacial lakes in the Nepal Himalaya, including Tsho Rolpa (27.86° N, 86.48° E), one of the largest glacial lakes in Nepal, where remediation work, including the construction of a gated outlet channel and reduction of the lake level, was carried out to mitigate the risk of dam overtopping or breaching. However, it remains classified as one of the most critical lakes in Nepal. Specifically, this project will:

1. Collate comprehensive data of selected lakes and their catchments to understand spatiotemporal lake and hazard evolution and benchmark their current condition.
2. Develop algorithms for automatic satellite data change detection (e.g. lake and glacier dynamics) and validate using in situ field measurements.
3. Integrate multi-source time series and hazard data over the decades to build up a data analytical model, which will predict future conditions under a range of climate scenarios.

The candidate will benefit from access to data from an ongoing NERC-funded project (WeACT), which seeks to improve natural dam-burst flood hazard assessment and forecasting. The project will be supported by local research partners. The candidate will receive training in both remote sensing and data mining techniques, besides the training from the DTP. The industrial partner, Reynolds International Ltd, has extensive and unparalleled archive material and experience of working at Tsho Rolpa since 1994

Funding Notes

Each of our studentship awards include 3.5 years of fees (Home), an annual living allowance (£15,285) and a Research Training Support Grant (for travel, consumables, as required).

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