Study: 15M People Threatened Globally by Glacial Flooding

Image copyright: Inverse

The Facts

  • In a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, researchers found that 15M people across the globe are at risk of a phenomenon known as "Glacial Lake Outburst Floods." Most of the vulnerable populations reside in Peru, India, Pakistan, and China.

  • A second study awaiting publication identifies examples of these events that have occurred throughout history and more recent times. One notable flood killed between 1.8K and 6K people in Peru in 1941. In a more recent event, a 300-foot (100-meter) tsunami resulted from this phenomenon in British Columbia in 2020.


The Spin

Narrative A

The task of slowing or stopping global warming is daunting but it's still within reach. At a high level, the world can collectively fight this battle and win by reducing emissions and switching to renewables. The cost of these changes is exorbitant but the benefit of these sacrifices is on the horizon. That will make events like "Glacial Lake Outburst Floods" less dangerous.

Narrative B

If we can take one lesson learned from the COVID pandemic it's that building resilience in vulnerable communities must become a priority. Nearly 200 United Nations member nations have pledged to "leave no one behind" but have they been successful? The focus on these complex issues should be on projects that have grassroots support from those most vulnerable and not just those projects supported by influencers of public policy working on "big picture issues."

Nerd narrative

There's a 41% chance that large-scale solar radiation management will be used to mitigate the effects of climate change in the 21st century, according to the Metaculus prediction community.


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