Glacial Hazards

Minimise loss of life and damage to infrastructure in the event of a Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF).

With changing climate, glaciers around the world are responding predominantly by shrinking. As they do so, more melt water is being stored in lake systems behind moraine dams at high altitude, especially in the Himalayas and the Andes. At the same time, to fuel economic growth with the high demands for electricity and resources, hydropower generation and high-altitude mining are becoming increasingly important.

In the recent past, damage caused by Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) and debris flows have resulted in many hundreds of millions of dollars of damage and lost revenue from hydropower schemes, insurance premiums have increased, and remote rural communities have been greatly affected. In the worst cases, many people have been killed by these events.

Despite the occurrence of GLOFs, related debris flows, thawing permafrost, and increasing numbers of rock and ice avalanches, there is little expertise available worldwide with which to manage these processes and their impacts on society. Many responsible agencies in countries affected struggle to find ways of prioritising their resources in the study and management of these glacial lake systems.

Prof. John Reynolds, Managing Director of Reynolds International Ltd, is recognised as the world leader in glacial hazard assessment and mitigation, with experience over the last 34 years from South America (Peru and Chile), Scandinavia, Himalayas (Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet/China), Hindu Kush Karakoram (Pakistan), and Tien Shan Mountains (Kyrgyzstan). He has been responsible for successful mitigation works in Peru and pioneered engineering remediation of a major glacial lake in Nepal, a world first. Much of his work has been published in international, peer-reviewed journals (see the publications page for details).

Tsho Rolpa spillway

Tsho Rolpa spillway (see also our project summary for the Tsho Rolpa GLOF risk reduction project)

Reynolds International Ltd (RIL) is unique in being the only independent company worldwide to offer a complete commercial consultancy service in all aspects of glacial hazard and risk management, with extensive experience in Asia and South America.

Call us now on +44 (0)1352 756196 or email enquiries@reynolds-international.co.uk so that you can find out without any obligation how to benefit from our unique glacial hazard and mitigation services.

Development of glacial hazard and risk minimisation protocols in rural environments

Reynolds International Ltd is maintaining access to the results of this important international research project undertaken by the former RGSL glacial hazards team under Prof. John Reynolds’ direction. RGSL pioneered the development of guidelines for glacial hazard management through a project funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID), between 2000 and 2003. […]

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Glacial hazard services

If you are managing a major project in a mountain environment in which there are many glaciers and glacial lakes, do not be fooled into thinking that if they are tens of kilometres away that your project is immune from their effects. Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) can travel for over 200 km from their […]

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Glacial hazards projects

RIl have recently undertaken a number of glacial hazards projects. Several projects on which RIL staff have worked are presented as case studies. Recent glacial hazards projects Recent activities in glacial hazards for the RIL team include: Disaster Risk Management for the hydro-power sector in the South Asian Region.  The World Bank (2014 on) Diamer […]

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