Articles | Volume 10, issue 5
Research article
20 Oct 2016
Research article |  | 20 Oct 2016

Glacier change and glacial lake outburst flood risk in the Bolivian Andes

Simon J. Cook, Ioannis Kougkoulos, Laura A. Edwards, Jason Dortch, and Dirk Hoffmann

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Cited articles

Albert, T., Klein, A., Kincaid, J. L., Huggel, C., Racoviteanu, A. E., Arnaud, Y., Silverio, W., and Ceballos, J. L.: Remote sensing of rapidly diminishing tropical glaciers in the northern Andes, in: Global Land Ice Measurements from Space, edited by: Kargel, S. J., Leonard, J. G., Bishop, P. M., Kääb, A., and Raup, H. B., Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, 609–638,, 2014.
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Allen, S. K., Schneider, D., and Owens, I. F.: First approaches towards modelling glacial hazards in the Mount Cook region of New Zealand's Southern Alps, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 9, 481–499,, 2009.
Andersen, L. E. and Verner, D.: Social impacts of climate change in Bolivia: a municipal level analysis of the effects of recent climate change on life expectancy, consumption, poverty and inequality, The World Bank, Working Paper Series – Policy Research Working Papers, 28 pp.,, 2009.
Bolch, T., Buchroithner, M. F., Peters, J., Baessler, M., and Bajracharya, S.: Identification of glacier motion and potentially dangerous glacial lakes in the Mt. Everest region/Nepal using spaceborne imagery, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 8, 1329–1340,, 2008.
Short summary
This is the first study of recent glacier change for the whole of the Bolivian Cordillera Oriental from 1986 to 2014. These glaciers have shrunk by ~ 43 %, which is a concern for regional water resources. We provide the first quantification of meltwater lake development across the Bolivian Andes as glaciers have receded. These lakes have increased markedly in number and area. We identify 25 lakes as potential outburst flood risks to downstream communities. These lakes require further monitoring.