Climate Change Research ›› 2020, Vol. 16 ›› Issue (4): 395-404.doi: 10.12006/j.issn.1673-1719.2019.181

• Disaster Responses to Climate Change •     Next Articles

The extreme climate background for glacial lakes outburst flood events in Tibet

JIA Yang1,3(), CUI Peng2,3,4()   

  1. 1 Sichuan Highway Planning, Survey, Design and Research Institute Ltd., Chengdu 610041, China
    2 The Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    3 The Key Laboratory of Mountain Hazards and Surface Process, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences & Ministry of Water Conservancy, Chengdu 610041, China
    4 Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2019-08-05 Revised:2019-12-14 Online:2020-07-30 Published:2020-08-05
  • Contact: CUI Peng;


In order to clearly understand the extreme climate background at the time of glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) occurrence in high altitude mountain, we took 27 GLOF events recorded in Tibet since 1960 as samples. Based on the daily temperature data and the daily precipitation data recorded by these meteorological stations in the vicinity of the places where GLOF events occurred, 16 temperature extremes indices and 6 precipitation extremes indices were calculated in these places. By the method of Principal Component Analysis (PCA), a comprehensive extreme temperature index and a comprehensive extreme precipitation index were extracted, and the fluctuation of extreme climate in this period when the disaster occurred were obtained by compared the value of the comprehensive extreme climate index of the previous nine years on annual scale and monthly scale, respectively. The results showed that: (1) More frequent extreme temperature events and precipitation events appeared in the year when GLOF occurred by compared with the previous nine years on annual scale, which was validated in about 67% of GLOF events. (2) Among the 25 GLOF events with monthly outbreak time record, the monthly extreme temperature index and the monthly extreme precipitation index when disaster occurrence were more than 75% of that in the same period of previous nine years, which was validated in about 11 GLOF events. (3) The extreme climate events in several years when GLOF occurred were not very frequent, while both of the extreme temperature index and the extreme precipitation index on monthly scale were obviously higher than the same period of previous nine years, such as Zharicuo GLOF (June 1981), Longjiucuo GLOF (August 2000), Degacuo GLOF (September 2002), Ranzeria GLOF (July 2013) and the nameless lake (July 2015). (4) The monthly extreme temperature index of all GLOF events was higher than that of the same period of the previous nine years, which shows that the short-term extreme temperature events have an important impact on the formation of GLOF in high altitude mountain.

Key words: Glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF), Climate extremes, Global warming, Tibet

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