160 glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) across the Tropical Andes since the Little Ice Age

Adam Emmer*, Joanne L. Wood, Simon J. Cook, Stephan Harrison, Ryan Wilson, Alejandro Diaz-Moreno, John M. Reynolds, Juan C. Torres, Christian Yarleque, Martin Mergili, Harrinson W. Jara, Georgie Bennett, Adriana Caballero, Neil F. Glasser, Enver Melgarejo, Christian Riveros, Sarah Shannon, Efrain Turpo, Tito Tinoco, Lucas TorresDavid Garay, Hilbert Villafane, Henrry Garrido, Carlos Martinez, Nebenka Apaza, Julia Araujo, Carlos Poma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
50 Downloads (Pure)


Assessing the extent to which glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) are increasing in frequency in modern times and whether their incidence is driven by anthropogenic climate change requires historical context. However, progress on this issue is hampered by incomplete GLOF inventories, especially in remote mountain regions. Here, we exploit high-resolution, multi-temporal satellite and aerial imagery, and documentary data to identify GLOF events across the glacierized Cordilleras of Peru and Bolivia, using a set of diagnostic geomorphic features. A total of 160 GLOFs from 151 individual sites are characterised and analysed, tripling the number of previously reported events. We provide statistics on location, magnitude, timing and characteristics of these events with implications for regional GLOF hazard identification and assessment. Furthermore, we describe several cases in detail and document a wide range of process chains associated with Andean GLOFs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103722
JournalGlobal and Planetary Change
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank three anonymous reviewers for their valuable and helpful comments and suggestions. This work was supported by RCUK-CONICYT ( Research Council UK and National Commission for Scientific Research and Technology) Glacial Lakes of Peru (GLOP) project. AE and MM acknowledge the financial support by the University of Graz.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors


  • Andes
  • Bolivia
  • Glacial lake outburst floods
  • GLOF
  • Peru


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