Environmental studies researchers take studies to new heights

Jeff Bury
Jeff Bury, associate professor of environmental studies, during an expedition to the Himalayas in Nepal seeking solutions to glacial lake outburst floods.
(Photo courtesy of Jeff Bury)

UC Santa Cruz environmental studies associate professor Jeff Bury and Adam French, an environmental studies Ph.D. candidate, were among 31 high-altitude scientists and researchers from around the world who traveled to Nepal last September to study and find solutions for destructive glacial floods.

The phenomenon, known as glacial lake outburst floods, is caused when glaciers melt, forming high-altitude lakes that either overwhelm or collapse their shores inundating  downstream villages and farmland. The floods have historically occurred in Nepal and other glacial areas.

The researchers are part of the newly formed Global Glacial Lake Partnership and worked with Himalayan residents, an unprecedented alliance.  A detailed article on the expedition can be found on the Environmental Studies news site.

The scientists traveled to Sagarmatha (Everest) National Park and Kathmandu, Nepal, for the "2011 Andean-Asian Glacial Lake Expedition." Their mission was to understand and mitigate the effects of global climate change on high-altitude communities and environments.

Bury has done extensive research in the Peruvian Andes where techniques have been developed over the past several decades to mitigate the potential dangers from fast-forming glacial lakes.