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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Earth Sci. | doi: 10.3389/feart.2019.00197

The State of Remote Sensing Capabilities of Cascading Hazards over High Mountain Asia

  • 1National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), United States
  • 2Goddard Space Flight Center, United States
  • 3Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona, United States
  • 4Institute of Geophysical, University of Alaska Fairbanks, United States
  • 5Department of Geoscience, University of Calgary, Canada
  • 6Planetary Science Institute, United States
  • 7Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Dayton, United States
  • 8GESTAR, United States
  • 9Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, United States
  • 10Earth System Science Center, University of Alabama in Huntsville, United States

Cascading hazard processes refer to a primary trigger such as heavy rainfall, seismic activity, or snow melt, followed by a chain or web of consequences that can cause subsequent hazards influenced by a complex array of preconditions and vulnerabilities. These interact in multiple ways and can have tremendous impacts on populations proximate to or downstream of these initial triggers. High Mountain Asia (HMA) is extremely vulnerable to cascading hazard processes given the tectonic, geomorphologic, and climatic setting of the region, particularly as it relates to glacial lakes. Given the limitations of in situ surveys in steep and often inaccessible terrain, remote sensing data are a valuable resource for better understanding and quantifying these processes. The present work provides a survey of cascading hazard processes impacting HMA and how these can be characterized using remote sensing sources. We discuss how remote sensing products can be used to address these process chains, citing several examples of cascading hazard scenarios across HMA. This work also provides a perspective on the current gaps and challenges, community needs, and view forward towards improved characterization of evolving hazards and risk across HMA.

Keywords: Cascading hazards, High Mountain Asia (HMA), Remote sensing-, Glacial lake outburst floods (GLOF), Landslides, Risk Assessment

Received: 14 Apr 2019; Accepted: 18 Jul 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Kirschbaum, Watson, Rounce, Shugar, Kargel, Haritashya, Amatya, Shean, Anderson and Jo. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Dalia Kirschbaum, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Washington D.C., United States,