Investigating the 7th February, 2021 Landslide Triggered Flash Flood in the Himalayan Region Using Geospatial Techniques

##plugins.themes.bootstrap3.article.main##

  •   Giribabu Dandabathula

  •   Srinivasa Rao Sitiraju

  •   Chandra Shekhar Jha

Abstract

On 7th February 2021 just before noon, news reports came in regarding a flash flood in Rishi Ganga/Dhauli Ganga River in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand state, India. This brief report puts forth the probable causes for this flash flood that has originated in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve using geospatial datasets and techniques. Datasets obtained from MODIS, Sentinel-2B, SRTM, ICESat-2 and ERA5 have been effectively utilized to infer the details about this event. Slow drizzle to severe snowfall has been witnessed during 3rd to 6th February 2021 in various parts of the Himalayan region; even the Rishi Ganga witnessed a heavy snowfall during this time. Data acquired on 10th February shows a scar developed due to a landslide on the shoulder of Ronti Mountain that was situated on the western rim of the Nanda Devi sanctuary. There was a gradual rise in temperature on 7th February 2021 at the surroundings of Ronti Mountain that consequently led to a landslide. The landslide perpetuated a movement under the influence of gravity from ~5900 m to ~3900 m with a mass envelope of ~0.290 km² and a velocity of 198 m/s that may have taken ~20 seconds to hit the Ronti bank. Due to the virtue of heat energy generated during this process resulted in contributing huge moraine filled flood water, that has accelerated towards the downstream of Rishi Ganga River and there after Dhauli Ganga River. Elevation profiles from the ICESat-2 and satellite imageries confirm the pre-existing conditions of landslide that is inclusive of weathering and erosion that led to the unstable condition at transportation back-slope of the Ronti Mountain. The triggering factors that influenced this landslide event and related causes were investigated in this study and reported herewith.


Keywords: Dhauli Ganga, Himalayas, India, Landslide, Nanda Ghunti, Rapid Snowmelt, Rishi Ganga, Ronti Mountain

References

Bahadur, J. (1993). The Himalayas: a third polar region. In Snow and glacier hydrology. Proc. international symposium, Kathmandu, 1992. IAHS; Publication, 218 pp.

Yao, T. et al. 2012. Third Pole Environment (TPE). Environmental Development, 3, 52–64.

Bandyopadhyay, J. (2013). Securing the Himalayas as the Water Tower of Asia: An Environmental Perspective. Asia Policy, 16, 45–50.

Zhang, G., Yao, T., Xie, H., Wang, W., Yang, W. (2015). An inventory of glacial lakes in the Third Pole region and their changes in response to global warming. Global and Planetary Change, 131, 148–157.

Yao, T. et al. (2020). Third Pole climate warming and cryosphere system changes. Wolrd Meteorological Organisation Bulletin 69, 35-38. https://library.wmo.int/index.php?lvl=bulletin_display&id=4057#.YDzERHnhVaR. (last accessed February 2021).

Negi, V.S., Thakur, S., Dhyani, R., Bhatt, I. D., Rawal, R. S. (2021). Climate change observations of indigenous communities in the Indian Himalaya. Weather, Climate, and Society, 13, 245-257.

Lepcha. P.T., Pandey, P.K., Ranjan, P. (2021). Hydrological significance of Himalayan surface water and its management considering anthropogenic and climate change aspects. IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering. 1020, 012013.

Singh, V., Jain, S. K., Goyal, M. K. (2021). An assessment of snow-glacier melt runoff under climate change scenarios in the Himalayan basin. Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment.

Mir, B.H., Lone, M.A., Kumar, R., Khoshouei, S.R. (2021). Review of the implications of changing climate on the water productivity of Himalayan Glaciers. Water Productivity Journal, 1, 23-30.

Nie, Y. et al. (2021). Glacial change and hydrological implications in the Himalaya and Karakoram. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment. 2, 91–106.

Mal, S., Singh, R. B., Schickhoff, U. (2016). Estimating Recent Glacier Changes in Central Himalaya, India, Using Remote Sensing Data. In Climate Change, Glacier Response, and Vegetation Dynamics in the Himalaya. Springer, Cham. pp. 205–218.

Kumar, V., Shukla, T., Mehta, M., Dobhal, D. P, Singh, Bisht, M. P., Nautiyal, S. (2020). Glacier changes and associated climate drivers for the last three decades, Nanda Devi region, Central Himalaya, India. Quaternary International.

Yuji, M. (1979). Geology and metamorphism of the Nanda Devi region, Kumaun higher Himalaya,India. Himalayan Geology, 9, 3-17.

Jain, A.K., Shreshtha, M., Seth, P., Kanyal, L., Carosi, R., Montomoli, C., Iaccarino, S., Mukherjee, P.K., Law, R., Singh, S., Rai, S. M. (2014). The Higher Himalayan Crystallines, Alaknanda–Dhauli Ganga Valleys, Garhwal Himalaya, India. In: Montomoli C, Carosi R, Law R, Singh S, Rai SM (eds) Geological field trips in the Himalaya, Karakoram and Tibet, Journal of the Virtual Explorer.

Aitken, B. (1994). The Nanda Devi Affair. Penguin Books India.

Bisht, H. (1994). Tourism in Garhwal Himalaya: With special reference to mountaineering and trekking in Uttarkashi and Chamoli districts. Indus Publishing. India.

Kapadia, H. (1999). Across Peaks & Passes in Kumaun Himalaya. Indus Publishing. India.

Emmons, A.B. (1938), Mapping in the Nanda Devi Basin. Geographical Review, 28, 59-67.

Shipton, E. (1937). More explorations round Nanda Devi. Geographical Journal, XC(2), 97-110.

Lamba, B. S. (1987). Status Survey of Fauna. Nanda Devi National Park. Occasional Paper No. 103. Zoological Survey of India, Calcutta, India.

Lavkumar, K. S. (1978). Nanda Devi Sanctuary. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 75, 868-887.

ABPLive. (2021). Snowfall Continues At Kedarnath Dham In Uttarakhand. https://www.abplive.com/states/up-uk/snowfall-continues-at-kedarnath-dham-in-uttarakhand-1758894. (last accessed February 2021).

Amarujala. (2021). Hilly Areas Covered with Thick Layer of Snow. https://www.amarujala.com/dehradun/uttarakhand-weather-snowfall-news-update-today-hilly-areas-covered-with-thick-layer-of-snow. (last accessed February 2021).

Notarnicola, C., Duguay, M., Moelg, N., Schellenberger, T., Tetzlaff, A., Monsorno, R., Costa, A., Steurer, C., Zebisch, M. (2013). Snow Cover Maps from MODIS Images at 250 m Resolution, Part 1: Algorithm Description. Remote Sensing, 5, 110–126.

Passini, R. & Jacobsen, K. (2007) Accuracy Analysis of SRTM Height Models. In Proceedings of 2007 American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Annual Conference, Tampa, FL, USA, 7–11 May 2007. pp. 25–29.

Zandbergen, P. (2008). Applications of Shuttle Radar Topography Mission Elevation Data. Geography Compass, 2, 1404–1431.

Saleem, N., Huq, M., Twumasi, N. Y. D., Javed, A., Sajjad, A. (2019). Parameters Derived from and/or Used with Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) for Landslide Susceptibility Mapping and Landslide Risk Assessment: A Review. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information. 8, 545.

Schutz, B. E., Zwally, H. J., Shuman, C. A., Hancock, D., DiMarzio, J. P. (2005). Overview of the ICESat Mission. Geophysical Research Letters, 32.

Brown, M. E., Delgodo, Arias, S., Neumann, T., Jasinski, M. F., Posey, P., Babonis, G., Glenn, N. F., Birkett, C. M., Escobar, V. M., Markus, T. (2016). Applications for ICESat-2 Data: From NASA’s Early Adopter Program. IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Magazine, 4, 24–37.

Neuenschwander, A., Pitts, K. (2019). The ATL08 land and vegetation product for the ICESat-2 Mission. Remote Sensing of Environment. 221, 247–259.

Neuenschwander, A.L., Magruder, L. A. (2019). Canopy and Terrain Height Retrievals with ICESat-2: A First Look. Remote Sensing 11, 1721.

Markus, T. et al. (2017). The Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2): Science requirements, concept, and implementation. Remote Sensing of Environment. 190, 260–273.

Herzfeld UC, Trantow TM, Harding D, Dabney PW. (2017). Surface-Height Determination of Crevassed Glaciers—Mathematical Principles of an Autoadaptive Density-Dimension Algorithm and Validation Using ICESat-2 Simulator (SIMPL) Data. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 55:1874–1896. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TGRS.2016.2617323.

Smith, B. et al. (2019). Land ice height-retrieval algorithm for NASA’s ICESat-2 photon-counting laser altimeter. Remote Sensing of Environment, 233, 111352.

Hersbach, H et al. (2020). The ERA5 global reanalysis. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 146, 1999–2049.

Ramon, J., Lledó, L., Torralba, V., Soret, A., Doblas‐Reyes, F. J. (2019). What global reanalysis best represents near‐surface winds? Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 145, 3236–3251.

Dibb, J. E. (2004). Snow accumulation, surface height change, and firn densification at Summit, Greenland: Insights from 2 years of in situ observation. Journal of Geophysical Research, 109. http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2003JD004300.

Shamir, E., Georgakakos, K. P. (2006). Distributed snow accumulation and ablation modeling in the American River basin. Advances in Water Resources, 29, 558–570.

Mott, R., Vionnet, V., Grünewald, T. (2018). The Seasonal Snow Cover Dynamics: Review on Wind-Driven Coupling Processes. Frontiers in Earth Science. 6.

NSIDC. (2021). The Life of a Glacier. https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/glaciers/life-glacier.html. (last accessed February 2021).

Hallet, B., Hunter, L., Bogen, J. (1996). Rates of erosion and sediment evacuation by glaciers: A review of field data and their implications. Global and Planetary Change 12, 213–235.

Bendle, J. M, Glasser. N. F. (2012). Palaeoclimatic reconstruction from Lateglacial (Younger Dryas Chronozone) cirque glaciers in Snowdonia, North Wales. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, 123, 130–145.

Pack, R. T. (1984). Debris flow initiation in Davis County, Utah, during the spring snowmelt period of 1983. In Twenty-first Annual Engineering Geology and Soil Engineering Symposium: University of Idaho, Moscow. pp. 59-78.

Hendrick, R.L., Filgate, B.D., Adams, W. M. (1971) Application of Environmental Analysis to Watershed Snowmelt. Journal of Applied Meteorology, 10, 418–429.

Cardinali M, Ardizzone F, Galli M, Guzzetti F, Reichenbach P (2000). Landslides triggered by rapid snow melting: the December 1996–January 1997 event in Central Italy. In Proceedings 1st Plinius Conference on Mediterranean Storms (pp. 439-448). Bios: Cosenza. http://geomorphology.irpi.cnr.it/publications/repository/public/proceedings/2000/landslides-triggered-by-rapid-snow-melting-the-december-1996-january-1997-event-in-central-italy.pdf. (last accessed February 2021).

Ritchie, A. M. (1958). Recognising and Identification of Landslides. In: Eckel EB (ed) Landslides and Engineering Practice, Special Report, 29. Washinton. 20-68.

Schuster, R. L., Wieczorek, G. F. (2002), Landslides triggers and types. In: Stemberk R, Wagner (eds) Proceedings of the 1st European conference on landslides, Prague. Balkema, Rotterdam. 59–78.

Wieczorek, G. F. (1996). Landslide triggering mechanisms. In: Landslides: investigation and mitigation (Turner AK, Schuster RL, eds). Washington DC: Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, special report. 76–90.

eoPortal. (2021). ICESat-2 (Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite -2). https://eoportal.org/web/eoportal/satellite-missions/content/-/article/icesat-2. (last accessed February 2021).

Bahadur, J. (1993). The Himalayas: a third polar region. In Snow and glacier hydrology. Proc. international symposium, Kathmandu, 1992. IAHS; Publication, 218 pp.

Yao, T. et al. 2012. Third Pole Environment (TPE). Environmental Development, 3, 52–64.

Bandyopadhyay, J. (2013). Securing the Himalayas as the Water Tower of Asia: An Environmental Perspective. Asia Policy, 16, 45–50.

Zhang, G., Yao, T., Xie, H., Wang, W., Yang, W. (2015). An inventory of glacial lakes in the Third Pole region and their changes in response to global warming. Global and Planetary Change, 131, 148–157.

Yao, T. et al. (2020). Third Pole climate warming and cryosphere system changes. Wolrd Meteorological Organisation Bulletin 69, 35-38. https://library.wmo.int/index.php?lvl=bulletin_display&id=4057#.YDzERHnhVaR. (last accessed February 2021).

Negi, V.S., Thakur, S., Dhyani, R., Bhatt, I. D., Rawal, R. S. (2021). Climate change observations of indigenous communities in the Indian Himalaya. Weather, Climate, and Society, 13, 245-257.

Lepcha. P.T., Pandey, P.K., Ranjan, P. (2021). Hydrological significance of Himalayan surface water and its management considering anthropogenic and climate change aspects. IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering. 1020, 012013.

Singh, V., Jain, S. K., Goyal, M. K. (2021). An assessment of snow-glacier melt runoff under climate change scenarios in the Himalayan basin. Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment.

Mir, B.H., Lone, M.A., Kumar, R., Khoshouei, S.R. (2021). Review of the implications of changing climate on the water productivity of Himalayan Glaciers. Water Productivity Journal, 1, 23-30.

Nie, Y. et al. (2021). Glacial change and hydrological implications in the Himalaya and Karakoram. Nature Reviews Earth & Environment. 2, 91–106.

Mal, S., Singh, R. B., Schickhoff, U. (2016). Estimating Recent Glacier Changes in Central Himalaya, India, Using Remote Sensing Data. In Climate Change, Glacier Response, and Vegetation Dynamics in the Himalaya. Springer, Cham. pp. 205–218.

Kumar, V., Shukla, T., Mehta, M., Dobhal, D. P, Singh, Bisht, M. P., Nautiyal, S. (2020). Glacier changes and associated climate drivers for the last three decades, Nanda Devi region, Central Himalaya, India. Quaternary International.

Yuji, M. (1979). Geology and metamorphism of the Nanda Devi region, Kumaun higher Himalaya,India. Himalayan Geology, 9, 3-17.

Jain, A.K., Shreshtha, M., Seth, P., Kanyal, L., Carosi, R., Montomoli, C., Iaccarino, S., Mukherjee, P.K., Law, R., Singh, S., Rai, S. M. (2014). The Higher Himalayan Crystallines, Alaknanda–Dhauli Ganga Valleys, Garhwal Himalaya, India. In: Montomoli C, Carosi R, Law R, Singh S, Rai SM (eds) Geological field trips in the Himalaya, Karakoram and Tibet, Journal of the Virtual Explorer.

Aitken, B. (1994). The Nanda Devi Affair. Penguin Books India.

Bisht, H. (1994). Tourism in Garhwal Himalaya: With special reference to mountaineering and trekking in Uttarkashi and Chamoli districts. Indus Publishing. India.

Kapadia, H. (1999). Across Peaks & Passes in Kumaun Himalaya. Indus Publishing. India.

Emmons, A.B. (1938), Mapping in the Nanda Devi Basin. Geographical Review, 28, 59-67.

Shipton, E. (1937). More explorations round Nanda Devi. Geographical Journal, XC(2), 97-110.

Lamba, B. S. (1987). Status Survey of Fauna. Nanda Devi National Park. Occasional Paper No. 103. Zoological Survey of India, Calcutta, India.

Lavkumar, K. S. (1978). Nanda Devi Sanctuary. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 75, 868-887.

ABPLive. (2021). Snowfall Continues At Kedarnath Dham In Uttarakhand. https://www.abplive.com/states/up-uk/snowfall-continues-at-kedarnath-dham-in-uttarakhand-1758894. (last accessed February 2021).

Amarujala. (2021). Hilly Areas Covered with Thick Layer of Snow. https://www.amarujala.com/dehradun/uttarakhand-weather-snowfall-news-update-today-hilly-areas-covered-with-thick-layer-of-snow. (last accessed February 2021).

Notarnicola, C., Duguay, M., Moelg, N., Schellenberger, T., Tetzlaff, A., Monsorno, R., Costa, A., Steurer, C., Zebisch, M. (2013). Snow Cover Maps from MODIS Images at 250 m Resolution, Part 1: Algorithm Description. Remote Sensing, 5, 110–126.

Passini, R. & Jacobsen, K. (2007) Accuracy Analysis of SRTM Height Models. In Proceedings of 2007 American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Annual Conference, Tampa, FL, USA, 7–11 May 2007. pp. 25–29.

Zandbergen, P. (2008). Applications of Shuttle Radar Topography Mission Elevation Data. Geography Compass, 2, 1404–1431.

Saleem, N., Huq, M., Twumasi, N. Y. D., Javed, A., Sajjad, A. (2019). Parameters Derived from and/or Used with Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) for Landslide Susceptibility Mapping and Landslide Risk Assessment: A Review. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information. 8, 545.

Schutz, B. E., Zwally, H. J., Shuman, C. A., Hancock, D., DiMarzio, J. P. (2005). Overview of the ICESat Mission. Geophysical Research Letters, 32.

Brown, M. E., Delgodo, Arias, S., Neumann, T., Jasinski, M. F., Posey, P., Babonis, G., Glenn, N. F., Birkett, C. M., Escobar, V. M., Markus, T. (2016). Applications for ICESat-2 Data: From NASA’s Early Adopter Program. IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Magazine, 4, 24–37.

Neuenschwander, A., Pitts, K. (2019). The ATL08 land and vegetation product for the ICESat-2 Mission. Remote Sensing of Environment. 221, 247–259.

Neuenschwander, A.L., Magruder, L. A. (2019). Canopy and Terrain Height Retrievals with ICESat-2: A First Look. Remote Sensing 11, 1721.

Markus, T. et al. (2017). The Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2): Science requirements, concept, and implementation. Remote Sensing of Environment. 190, 260–273.

Herzfeld UC, Trantow TM, Harding D, Dabney PW. (2017). Surface-Height Determination of Crevassed Glaciers—Mathematical Principles of an Autoadaptive Density-Dimension Algorithm and Validation Using ICESat-2 Simulator (SIMPL) Data. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing 55:1874–1896. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TGRS.2016.2617323.

Smith, B. et al. (2019). Land ice height-retrieval algorithm for NASA’s ICESat-2 photon-counting laser altimeter. Remote Sensing of Environment, 233, 111352.

Hersbach, H et al. (2020). The ERA5 global reanalysis. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 146, 1999–2049.

Ramon, J., Lledó, L., Torralba, V., Soret, A., Doblas‐Reyes, F. J. (2019). What global reanalysis best represents near‐surface winds? Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 145, 3236–3251.

Dibb, J. E. (2004). Snow accumulation, surface height change, and firn densification at Summit, Greenland: Insights from 2 years of in situ observation. Journal of Geophysical Research, 109. http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2003JD004300.

Shamir, E., Georgakakos, K. P. (2006). Distributed snow accumulation and ablation modeling in the American River basin. Advances in Water Resources, 29, 558–570.

Mott, R., Vionnet, V., Grünewald, T. (2018). The Seasonal Snow Cover Dynamics: Review on Wind-Driven Coupling Processes. Frontiers in Earth Science. 6.

NSIDC. (2021). The Life of a Glacier. https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/glaciers/life-glacier.html. (last accessed February 2021).

Hallet, B., Hunter, L., Bogen, J. (1996). Rates of erosion and sediment evacuation by glaciers: A review of field data and their implications. Global and Planetary Change 12, 213–235.

Bendle, J. M, Glasser. N. F. (2012). Palaeoclimatic reconstruction from Lateglacial (Younger Dryas Chronozone) cirque glaciers in Snowdonia, North Wales. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association, 123, 130–145.

Pack, R. T. (1984). Debris flow initiation in Davis County, Utah, during the spring snowmelt period of 1983. In Twenty-first Annual Engineering Geology and Soil Engineering Symposium: University of Idaho, Moscow. pp. 59-78.

Hendrick, R.L., Filgate, B.D., Adams, W. M. (1971) Application of Environmental Analysis to Watershed Snowmelt. Journal of Applied Meteorology, 10, 418–429.

Cardinali M, Ardizzone F, Galli M, Guzzetti F, Reichenbach P (2000). Landslides triggered by rapid snow melting: the December 1996–January 1997 event in Central Italy. In Proceedings 1st Plinius Conference on Mediterranean Storms (pp. 439-448). Bios: Cosenza. http://geomorphology.irpi.cnr.it/publications/repository/public/proceedings/2000/landslides-triggered-by-rapid-snow-melting-the-december-1996-january-1997-event-in-central-italy.pdf. (last accessed February 2021).

Ritchie, A. M. (1958). Recognising and Identification of Landslides. In: Eckel EB (ed) Landslides and Engineering Practice, Special Report, 29. Washinton. 20-68.

Schuster, R. L., Wieczorek, G. F. (2002), Landslides triggers and types. In: Stemberk R, Wagner (eds) Proceedings of the 1st European conference on landslides, Prague. Balkema, Rotterdam. 59–78.

Wieczorek, G. F. (1996). Landslide triggering mechanisms. In: Landslides: investigation and mitigation (Turner AK, Schuster RL, eds). Washington DC: Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, special report. 76–90.

eoPortal. (2021). ICESat-2 (Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite -2). https://eoportal.org/web/eoportal/satellite-missions/content/-/article/icesat-2. (last accessed February 2021).

##plugins.themes.bootstrap3.article.details##

How to Cite
Dandabathula, G., Sitiraju, S. R., & Jha, C. S. (2021). Investigating the 7th February, 2021 Landslide Triggered Flash Flood in the Himalayan Region Using Geospatial Techniques. European Journal of Environment and Earth Sciences, 2(4), 75-86. https://doi.org/10.24018/ejgeo.2021.2.4.170