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Umesh Haritashya

Professor; Director of Sustainability Studies Program

Full-Time Faculty

College of Arts and Sciences: Hanley Sustainability Institute, Geology and Environmental Geosciences


Email: Umesh Haritashya
Phone: 937-229-2939
SC 396


  • Ph.D., Indian Institute of Technology, India


Dr. Haritashya received his Ph.D. from the Indian Institute of Technology in 2005, where he studied glacier hydrology, modeling and remote sensing image analysis. He joined UD in 2008 after completing a post-doctoral research appointment in NASA's international GLIMS (Global Land Ice Measurements from Space) project and USAID project at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

At the University of Dayton, Dr. Haritashya has taught a variety of courses, including Environmental Remote Sensing, Geomorphology, Glacial Geology, Environmental Geology, Problems and Decisions in Environmental Geology and Environmental Instrumentation Lab. Dr. Haritashya's research primarily focuses on field-collected and satellite-borne data to understand the impact of climate change on the changing landscape of the cryosphere (snow, ice and glaciers), high-mountain hazards (Landslides, debris flow, glacial lake and landslide lake outburst floods, etc.), and mountain hydrology (runoff modeling, sediment transport, hydroelectric reservoir management, etc.). His interdisciplinary research includes basic and applied science and also explores social, sustainable and human rights connections. Dr. Haritashya and his group have received more than $3 million in research grants in the last 10-plus years.

Courses taught

  • Dynamic Earth
  • Dynamic Universe (Fundamentals of Integrated Natural Sciences)
  • Environmental Geology
  • Environmental Geology (online)
  • Environmental Instrumentation Lab
  • Environmental Remote Sensing
  • Field course in Colorado Rockies, and New Zealand Alps
  • Geomorphology
  • Geology Seminar Series (Themes: Climate Change; Water Resources)
  • Glacial Geology
  • Problems and Decisions in Environmental Geology
  • Physical Geology
  • Surface and Groundwater Hydrology

Research interests

  • Machine learning, remote sensing and GIScience.
  • Climate change impact on glaciers in Himalaya and broader High Mountain Asia, New Zealand, Alaska, and Andes.
  • Assessment of glacier morphology and ice dynamics.
  • Mountain Geomorphology and Surface Processes.
  • Glacier hydrology and sedimentology.
  • Modeling of snow and glacier melt runoff.
  • Natural hazards including GLOF, landslides, floods, debris flow.
  • Collection and analysis of hydro-meteorological, suspended sediment and glaciological data in high altitude glacierized region.
  • Satellite image analysis of sustainability and human-rights issues.

Selected grants and publications

Funded Grants Since 2012

  • Funded augmentation under the Post-COVID Recovery Solicitation E.10 for the IDS project, “Large landslides and landslide/glacier-dammed Himalayan and Karakoram rivers and the potential for transboundary disruptions.” NASA - Augmentations and Funded Extension Requests in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Program NNH20ZDA001N-COVID for NASA - Interdisciplinary ScienceTotal Amount $185,091. Project duration: January 19, 2022 – January 18, 2023.
  • Funded augmentation under the Post-COVID Recovery Solicitation E.10 for the High Mountain Asia project, “Interlinked Glacier Dynamics, Lakes, Mountain Hazards, and Critical Vulnerabilities in the Himalaya.” NASA - Augmentations and Funded Extension Requests in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Program NNH20ZDA001N-COVID for NASA - Understanding Changes in High Mountain Asia ProgramTotal Amount $194,135. Project duration: May 7, 2021 – May 6, 2022.
  • Using ICESat-2 data to understand Mercury. NASA – Unsolicited funds to link Earth and Planetary SciencesTotal Amount $149,998. Project duration: October 1, 2020 - September 30, 2021.
  • Continuing studies of glaciers and glacier hydrology in High Mountain Asia. NASA – Unsolicited funds to advance High Mountain Asia workTotal Amount $49,000. Project duration: September 1, 2020 - August 31, 2021.
  • ISRO ASAR Investigation of Supraglacial Materials and Melting Relevant to Glacier Dynamics. NASA – Utilization of Airborne L- and S- Band Synthetic Aperture Radar Imagery over North America - Joint NASA and ISRO Airborne CampaignTotal Amount $100,433. Project duration: February 20, 2020 - August 19, 2021.
  • Large landslides and landslide/glacier-dammed Himalayan and Karakoram rivers and the potential for transboundary disruptions. NASA – Interdisciplinary ScienceTotal Amount $1,160,615. Project duration: January 19, 2018 – January 18, 2022.
  • Interlinked glacier dynamics, lakes, mountain hazards, and critical vulnerabilities in the Himalaya. NASA - Understanding Changes in High Mountain Asia ProgramTotal Amount $627,637. Project duration: Sept 20, 2016 – May 6, 2022.
  • Roles of the Changing Cryosphere in Multi-Hazard Hotspots in Seismically and Volcanically Active Areas. NASA - Topical Workshops, Symposia, and ConferencesTotal Amount $49,860. Project duration: Sept 1, 2016 – Aug 31, 2017.
  • Natural Hazard Processes Facing Mountain Villages in the Sapta Koshi Basin, eastern Nepal. National Geographic Society / Waitt Grants ProgramTotal Amount $15,000. Project duration: Sept 5, 2015 – May 31, 2016.
  • Analysis of the satellite-era glacier fluctuation in the Peruvian Andes and identifying associated glacial hazards. University of Dayton SEED GrantTotal Amount $6,500. Project duration: May 15, 2015 – August 14, 2015.
  • Modeling Wetland Evolution and its Geo-Hydrological Processes at the Silver Lake Wetlands, Miami County, Ohio. University of Dayton Dean’s Funds for ExcellenceTotal Amount $6,462. Project duration: May 15, 2014 – August 14, 2014.
  • Interdisciplinary science applications to glacier and alpine hazards in relation to development and habitation in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya: SERVIR Science Team project. NASA - Servir Applied Sciences Team ProgramTotal Amount $1,199,094. Project duration: August 7, 2012 – August 6, 2017.
  • Quantitative Characterization of Glacier State and Dynamics in South Asia and Validation in Alaska using Repeat ASTER Multispectral and Terrain Information. NASA - The Science of Terra and Aqua ProgramTotal Amount $682,808. Project duration: January 1, 2011 – December 31, 2013.

Select journal publications

  • Jeffrey S. Kargel, Kavita Upadhyay, Amanda Maxwell, Adriana Gabriela Mayo Ramos, Stephan Harrison, Dan H. Shugar and Umesh K. Haritashya (2021) Climate change, land use change, and mountain disasters. Part I. Shifting Mountain Hazards and Early Warning. Georgetown Journal of International Affairs.
  • Jeffrey S. Kargel, Kavita Upadhyay, Amanda Maxwell, Adriana Gabriela Mayo Ramos, Stephan Harrison, Dan H. Shugar and Umesh K. Haritashya (2021) Climate change, land use change, and mountain disasters. Part II. Knowledge Aids Safety and Efficiency. Georgetown Journal of International Affairs.
  • Fang Chen, Umesh K. Haritashya, Mahesh Prakash and Lei Wang (2021) Editorial: Big Earth Data for Disaster Risk Reduction. Frontiers in Earth Science. 9:727547.
  • Farooq Azam, Jeffrey S. Kargel, Joseph M. Shea, Santosh Nepal, Umesh K. Haritashya, Smriti Srivastava, Fabien Maussion, Nuzhat Qazi, Pierre Chevallier, A. P. Dimri, Anil V. Kulkarni, J. Graham Cogley and Isa M. Bahuguna (2021) Glacio-hydrology of the Himalaya-Karakoram: status and perspectives. Science.
  • Dan Shugar, Mylène Jacquemart, David Shean, Shashank Bhushan, Kavita Upadhyay, Ashim Sattar, Wolfgang Schwanghart, Sarah McBride, Max Van Wyk de Vries, Martin Mergili, Adam Emmer, C Deschamps-Berger, M McDonnell, Rakesh Bhambri, SimonAllen, Etienne Berthier, Jonathan Carrivick, John Clague, M Dokukin, Stuart Dunning, Holgrey Frey, Simon Gascoin, Umesh K. Haritashya, Christian Huggel, Andy Kääb, Jeff Kargel, Jeff Kavanaugh, Pascal Lacroix, Dave Petley, Summer Rupper, Mohd Farooq Azam, Simon Cook, A P Dimri, Mats Eriksson, Daniel Farinotti, J Fiddes, K R Gnyawali, Stephan Harrison, M Jha, Michele Koppes, Amit Kumar, S Leinss, U Majeed, Suraj Mal, A Muhuri, J Noetzli, Frank Paul, Irfan Rashid, Kalachand Sain, Jacob Steiner, F Ugalde, C S Watson, Matt Westoby (2021) A massive rock and ice avalanche caused the 2021 disaster at Chamoli, Indian Himalaya. Science.
  • Ashim Sattar, Ajanta Goswami, Anil Kulkarni, Adam Emmer and Umesh K. Haritashya, Simon Allen, Holger Frey and Christian Huggel (2021) Future glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) hazard of the South Lhonak Lake, Sikkim Himalaya. Geomorphology, Vol 388, 107783.
  • Ashim Sattar, Umesh K. Haritashya, Jeffrey S. Kargel, Gregory J. Leonard, Dan Shugar and Donald V. Chase (2021) Modeling lake outburst and downstream hazard assessment of the Lower Barun glacial lake, Nepal Himalaya. Journal of Hydrology, Vol 598, 126208.
  • Fang Chen, Meimei Zhang, Huadong Guo, Simon Allen, Jeffrey S. Kargel, Umesh K. Haritashya and C. Scott Watson (2021) Annual 30-meter Dataset for Glacial Lakes in High Mountain Asia from 2008 to 2017. Earth System Science Data, Vol 13, 741-766.
  • Dan H. Shugar, Aaron Burr, Umesh K. Haritashya, Jeffrey S. Kargel, C Scott Watson, Maureen Kennedy, Alexandre Bevington, Richard Betts, Stephan Harrison and Katherine Strattman* (2020) Rapid worldwide growth of glacial lakes since 1990. Nature Climate Change, Vol 10, 939-945.
  • Zhiyuan Xie, Umesh K. Haritashya, Vijayan K. Asari, Brennan W. Young, Michael P. Bishop, Jeffrey S. Kargel (2020) GlacierNet: A Deep-Learning Approach for Debris-Covered Glacier Mapping. IEEE Access, Vol 8, 83495 – 83510.
  • Anshuman Misra, Amit Kumar, Rakesh Bhambri, Umesh K. Haritashya, Akshaya Verma, Dwarika P. Dobhal, Anil K. Gupta, Gaurav Gupta, Rajeev Upadhyay (2020) Topographic and climatic influence on seasonal snow cover: Implications for the hydrology of ungauged Himalayan basins, India. Journal of Hydrology, Vol 585.
  • Rakesh Bhambri, C Scott Watson, Kenneth Hewitt, Umesh K. Haritashya, Jeffrey S Kargel, Arjun P. Shahi, Pritam Chand, Amit Kumar, Akshaya Verma and Himanshu Govil (2020) The hazardous 2017-2019 surge and river damming by Shispare Glacier, Karakoram. Scientific Reports, 10, 4685.
  • Immerzeel, A. Lutz, M. Andrade, A. Bahl, H. Biemans, T. Bolch, S. Hyde, S. Brumby, B. Davies, A. Elmore, A. Emmer, M. Feng, A. Fernandez, U. Haritashya,J. Kargel, M. Koppes, P. Kraaijenbrink, A. Kulkarni, P. Mayewski, S. Nepal, P. Pacheco, T. Painter, F. Pellicciotti, H. Rajaram, S. Rupper, S. Sinisalo, A. Shrestha, D. Viviroli, Y. Wada, C. Xiao, T. Yao and J. Baillie (2020) Importance and vulnerability of the world’s water towers. Nature, 577, 364–369.  
  • C Scott Watson, Jeffrey S Kargel, Dan Shugar, Umesh K. Haritashya, Enrico Schiassi and Roberto Furfaro (2020) Mass loss from calving in Himalayan proglacial lakes. Frontiers in Earth Science. 7:342.
  • Enrico Schiassi, Roberto Furfaro, Jeffrey S Kargel, C Scott Watson, Dan Shugar and Umesh K. Haritashya (2019) GLAM Bio-Lith RT: A Tool for Remote Sensing Reflectance Simulation and Water Components Concentration Retrieval in Glacial Lakes. Frontiers in Earth Science. 7:267.
  • Dalia Kirschbaum, C Scott Watson, David R Rounce, Dan Shugar, Jeffrey S Kargel, Umesh K. Haritashya, Pukar Amatya, David Shean, Eric R Anderson, MinJeong Jo (2019) The State of Remote Sensing Capabilities of Cascading Hazards over High Mountain Asia. Frontiers in Earth Science.
  • Umesh K. Haritashya, Jeffrey Kargel, Dan Shugar, Gregory Leonard,Katherine Strattman, C. Scott Watson, David Shean, Stephan Harrison, Kyle Mandli and Dhananjay Regmi (2018) Evolution and controls of large glacial lakes in the Nepal Himalaya. Remote Sensing, Vol 10(5), 798.
  • Stephan Harrison, Jeffrey S. Kargel, Christian Huggel, John Reynolds, Dan H. Shugar, Richard A. Betts, Adam Emmer, Neil Glasser, Umesh K. Haritashya, Jan Klimeš, Liam Reinhardt, Yvonne Schaub, Andy Wilyshire, Dhananjay Regmi and Vít Vilímek (2018) Climate change and the global pattern of moraine-dammed glacial lake outburst floods. The Cryosphere, Vol 12, 1195-1209.
  • S. Kargel, G.J. Leonard, D.H. Shugar, U.K. Haritashya, A. Bevington, E.J. Fielding, K. Fujita, M. Geertsema, E.S. Miles, J. Steiner and 54 others (2016) Geomorphic and Geologic Controls of Geohazards Induced by Nepal’s 2015 Gorkha Earthquake. Science, 351 (6269). Please note the first four authors contributed equally as indicated in publication.
  • Umesh K. Haritashya, Mark Pleasants and Luke Copland (2015) Assessment of the evolution in velocity of two debris-covered valley glaciers in Nepal and New Zealand. Geografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography, 97, No. 4, pp 737 – 751.
  • Pfeffer, W. T., and 75 others (including U. Haritashya) (2014) The Randolph Glacier Inventory: a globally complete inventory of glaciers. Journal of Glaciology, Vol. 60, No. 221, pp 537 – 552. NOTE: Multi-authored article. Haritashya is part of the Randolph consortium and contributed glacier time series outline for HKH region; listed as consortium author at the end of this publication.
  • Henry N. N. Bulley, Michael P. Bishop, John F. Shroder Jr. and Umesh K. Haritashya (2013) Integration of classification tree analyses and spatial metrics to assess changes in supraglacial lakes in the Karakoram Himalaya. International Journal of Remote Sensing, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp 387 – 411.
  • Jeffrey S. Kargel, J. Graham Cogley, Gregory Leonard, Umesh K. Haritashya and Alton Byers (2011) Himalayan glaciers: The big picture is a montage. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 108, No. 36, pp 14709 – 14710.
  • Umesh K. Haritashya, Amit Kumar and Pratap Singh (2010) Particle size characteristics of suspended sediment transported in meltwater from the Gangotri Glacier, Central Himalaya — An indicator of subglacial sediment evacuation. Geomorphology, Vol. 122, No. 1 – 2, pp 140 – 152.
  • Umesh K. Haritashya, Michael P. Bishop, John F. Shroder Jr., Andrew B. G. Bush and Henry N. N. Bulley (2009) Space-based assessment of glacier fluctuations in the Wakhan Pamir, Afghanistan. Climatic Change, Vol. 94, pp 5 – 18.
  • Pratap Singh, Umesh K. Haritashya and Naresh Kumar (2008) Modelling and estimation of different components of streamflow for Gangotri Glacier basin, Himalayas. Hydrological Sciences Journal, Vol. 53, No. 2, pp 309 – 322.
  • P. Gupta, A. Ghosh and Umesh K. Haritashya (2007) Empirical relationship between near-IR reflectance of melting seasonal snow and environmental temperature in a Himalayan basin. Remote Sensing Environment, Vol. 107, No. 3, pp 402 – 413.
  • Pratap Singh, Umesh K. Haritashya and Naresh Kumar (2007) Meteorological study for Gangotri Glacier and its comparison with other high altitude meteorological stations in Central Himalayan region. Nordic Hydrology, Vol. 38, No. 1, pp 59 – 77.
  • Umesh K. Haritashya, Pratap Singh, Naresh Kumar and Yatveer Singh (2006) Hydrological importance of an unusual hazard in mountainous basin: Flood and landslide. Hydrological Processes, Vol. 20, No. 14, pp 3147 – 3154.
  • Pratap Singh, Umesh K. Haritashya, Naresh Kumar and Yatveer Singh (2006) Hydrological characteristics of the Gangotri Glacier, Central Himalayas, India. Journal of Hydrology, Vol. 327, No. 1-2, pp 55 – 67.
  • Umesh K. Haritashya, Pratap Singh, Naresh Kumar and R. P. Gupta (2006) Suspended sediment from the Gangotri Glacier: Quantification, variability and associations with discharge and air temperature. Journal of Hydrology, Vol. 321, No. 1-4, pp 116 – 130.
  • P. Gupta, Umesh K. Haritashya, Pratap Singh (2005) Mapping dry/wet snow cover in the Indian Himalayas using IRS multispectral imagery. Remote Sensing Environment, Vol. 97, No. 4, pp 458 – 469.
  • Pratap Singh, Umesh K. Haritashya, K. S. Ramasastri and Naresh Kumar (2005) Prevailing weather conditions during summer seasons around Gangotri Glacier. Current Science, Vol. 88, No. 5, pp 753 – 760.
  • Pratap Singh, Umesh K. Haritashya, K. S. Ramasastri and Naresh Kumar (2005) Diurnal variations in discharge and suspended sediment concentration, including runoff-delaying characteristics, of the Gangotri Glacier in the Garhwal Himalayas. Hydrological Processes, Vol. 19, No. 7, pp 1445 – 1457.
  • Pratap Singh, Umesh K. Haritashya and Naresh Kumar (2004) Seasonal changes in meltwater storage and drainage characteristics of the Dokriani Glacier, Garhwal Himalayas (India). Nordic Hydrology, Vol. 35, No. 1, pp 15 – 29.

Selected book publications

  • Vijay P. Singh, Pratap Singh, and Umesh K. Haritashya (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Snow, Ice and Glaciers (2011), Springer publications, 1254p.
  • Umesh K. Haritashya (Volume Editor) (2022) Cryospheric Geomorphology. Treatise on Geomorphology. Elsevier Publication.