Neosha Narayanan Summer '22

At IIT Roorkee, I'm studying glacial lake outburst flooding (GLOFs), a dangerous phenomenon occurring when there is a sudden outburst of a lake fed by glacier melt. GLOFs can happen anywhere where we find alpine (mountain) glaciers, notably in the Himalayas. The resulting floods can be devastating to human lives and infrastructure - for example, the Kedarnath flood in 2013 killed 6000 people and caused $500 million in damages. My work this summer focuses on using remote sensing/satellite data to identify and inventory potentially dangerous glacial lakes and performing hydrological modeling to assess the locations and severity of potential floods.

neosha in front of state house in India

Neosha in front of the Karnataka state house

What is your morning commute like?

I try to wake up early to go on a run or work out in the gym since the heat and the humidity here are almost unbearable for exercising. Now that monsoon season is starting, the heat isn’t so bad, but the torrential floods occur very unpredictably! I eat breakfast at the mess hall in my hostel (dorm) and cycle about a kilometer down the road to the Hydrology department, where I work in a lab with the other students working in our group.

neosha and lab mates in the Himalayas

Neosha with lab mates in the Himalayas during a site visit


What is your work like day-to-day thus far?

I usually arrive in the lab between 9:30 and 10 in the morning. I'll work until 1:30, occasionally chatting with friends in the lab, and we take our lunch break around 1:30. I cycle back to my hostel and eat lunch in the mess hall. Usually, students take 2 hours for lunch, so I either nap, or watch Hindi movies until 3:30 when I go back to the lab. At 6, we go for chai at a nearby bhawan (mess hall) and come back to work until 7 or 7:30. Then I go back to my hostel for dinner at the mess hall.

lab mates drinking chai with Neosha

What is your favorite place to go so far?

I love the main building of IIT Roorkee. The dome and columns remind me of MIT, and there are always a few people walking by. It's such a serene place.

iit roorkee building India

The main administrative building of IIT Roorkee – reminds me so much of MIT :’)


Have you tried any new foods you enjoyed or seen anything new?

I went on a field visit to a lake called Suraj Tal near Manali last week. When we were in Manali, we tried the local foods there called siddu and laphing. Both were delicious. Eating in the mess hall has felt more like home than any place in the US - they serve the same staples like rice and dal that I used to eat every day at home with my family. 

Himachal food in Manali, siddu