Mass-balance Glossary

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Mass-balance Glossary

Graham Cogley

Dear Cryolisters – May we remind you of the availability of the recently published IACS Glossary of Glacier Mass Balance and Related Terms, which updates and revises Anonymous (Journal of Glaciology, 8, 3-7, 1969). The Glossary aims to meet the needs of glaciologists and others for a clear and unified formulation of the mass balance of both glaciers and ice sheets. It also presents 539 definitions, many with extended discussion, and includes seven tables of reference material.


The Glossary can be downloaded from (2.7 Mbytes) or ordered as hard copy, at no charge, from [hidden email]. The full reference is


Cogley, J.G., R. Hock, L.A. Rasmussen, A.A. Arendt, A. Bauder, R.J. Braithwaite, P. Jansson, G. Kaser, M. Möller, L. Nicholson and M. Zemp, 2011, Glossary of Glacier Mass Balance and Related Terms, IHP-VII Technical Documents in Hydrology No. 86, IACS Contribution No. 2, UNESCO-IHP, Paris. 114p.


Another IACS publication, The International Classification for Seasonal Snow on the Ground, published in 2009 as IHP-VII Technical Document in Hydrology No. 83 and IACS Contribution No. 1, will be of interest to some of us.


At the 25th IUGG General Assembly in Melbourne in June 2011, the IUGG Council adopted Resolution 1, which “urges all snow and ice scientists, practitioners, and scientists from related disciplines to adopt these new schemes as standards”. Whether the new scheme and terms for glacier mass balance become standard is a matter for the community to decide, but we hope they will win acceptance.


Graham Cogley, Chair,

for the Working Group on Mass-balance Terminology and Methods,

International Association for Cryospheric Sciences (IACS)




J. Graham Cogley, Ph.D., Professor of Geography,

Department of Geography, Trent University,

Peterborough, Ontario, CANADA K9J 7B8.


Tel      +1 705-748-1011-x7686

Fax     +1 705-742-2131

Email  [hidden email]




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