Numerical modelling of glacial lake outburst floods using physically based dam-breach models

Westoby, Matt, Brasington, James, Glasser, Neil, Hambrey, Michael, Reynolds, John, Hassan, Mohamed and Lowe, Andrew (2015) Numerical modelling of glacial lake outburst floods using physically based dam-breach models. Earth Surface Dynamics, 3 (1). pp. 171-199. ISSN 2196-6311

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/esurf-3-171-2015

Abstract

The instability of moraine-dammed proglacial lakes creates the potential for catastrophic glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) in high-mountain regions. In this research, we use a unique combination of numerical dam-breach and two-dimensional hydrodynamic modelling, employed within a generalised likelihood uncertainty estimation (GLUE) framework, to quantify predictive uncertainty in model outputs associated with a reconstruction of the Dig Tsho failure in Nepal. Monte Carlo analysis was used to sample the model parameter space, and morphological descriptors of the moraine breach were used to evaluate model performance. Multiple breach scenarios were produced by differing parameter ensembles associated with a range of breach initiation mechanisms, including overtopping waves and mechanical failure of the dam face. The material roughness coefficient was found to exert a dominant influence over model performance. The downstream routing of scenario-specific breach hydrographs revealed significant differences in the timing and extent of inundation. A GLUE-based methodology for constructing probabilistic maps of inundation extent, flow depth, and hazard is presented and provides a useful tool for communicating uncertainty in GLOF hazard assessment.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published online first: 16 March 2015
Subjects: F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
L700 Human and Social Geography
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography
Depositing User: Nicola King
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2015 12:44
Last Modified: 08 May 2017 17:05
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/23389

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