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


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.

Frontiers in Earth Science