The World Glacier Monitoring Service and the U.S. National Snow and Ice
Data Center jointly revised and updated the World Glacier Inventory (WGI)
based on additional sources from the literature (e.g., Rau et al. 2004,
Cogley 2008, Radic & Hock 2010). This latest version of the WGI contains
detailed glacier inventory information for more than 130,000 glaciers
covering over 470,000 sqkm and is online available from:
When using this dataset, please reference as WGMS and NSIDC (1989, updated
WGMS and NSIDC (1989, updated 2012): World Glacier Inventory. Compiled and
made available by the World Glacier Monitoring Service, Zurich,
Switzerland, and the National Snow and Ice Data Center, Boulder CO, U.S.A.
Note that the WGI was initiated during the International Hydrological
Decade (IHD; 1965−1974) and is mainly based on aerial photographs
and maps of the second half of the 20th century. The database stores
geographical coordinates of glacier label points and tabular information
about glacier classification, area, length, orientation and altitude
range. New inventories including digital glacier outlines, mainly based on
satellite images, are stored in the GLIMS database including the full
complement of the WGI-defined glacier characteristics (cf.
http://www.glims.org). A detailed and commented overview on global glacier
datasets is available on the website of the Global Terrestrial Network for
Please make use of these datasets and help us to further expand it with
your data contributions!
Michael Zemp (WGMS) & Florence Fetterer (NSIDC)
PS Sincere thanks go to the following staff members who were involved in
this latest revision of the WGI: Kathrin Naegeli, Ann Windnagel, Jon
Davis, Daniel Crumly, Bruce Raup, and Richard Armstrong.
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Director WGMS, PD Dr. sc. nat.
World Glacier Monitoring Service
Department of Geography
University of Zurich