The Glacier Photograph Collection is an online, searchable collection of photographs of glaciers, mostly taken in the Rocky Mountains, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and Greenland. Photographs were taken from both the air and the ground. The dates of the photographs range from the mid 1800s to the present day. As of June 2010, more than 13,000 glacier photographs are online. These photographs constitute an important historical record, as well as a data collection of interest to those studying the response of glaciers to climate change.
Search the Glacier Photograph Collection
You can search the Glacier Photograph Collection by glacier name, location, date, photographer, and more from the Search & Order interface. You can view lower-resolution photographs online and order high-resolution photographs from the interface.
The documentation for the Glacier Photograph Collection provides background information on the origins of the photographs, how the photographs were acquired and scanned, the use of the search interface, and more.
The Glacier Photograph Collection also includes interesting subsets of photographs, highlighted as Special Collections.
Repeat Photography of Glaciers
This special collection displays photographs of the same glacier, taken from the same vantage point and at the same time of year, but taken many years apart. These photographs can show evidence of glacier and climate changes over time.
Repeat photography can reveal dramatic changes in the glacier terminus position,
as a glacier either advances or retreats. Most glaciers around the
world have retreated at unprecedented rates over the last century.
These pairs of photographs can provide striking visual evidence of
To access the photos, see the Search & Order interface. To cite photographs taken from the Glacier Photograph Collection, please see "Citing These Data" in the documentation. For more information about the Repeat Photography of Glaciers special collection, see the section on Repeat Photography of Glaciers in the documentation.
National Park Service Glacier Survey Reports
This special collection highlights glacier photographs taken from original National Park Service (NPS) Glacier Survey reports.
Currently in the collection are reports from Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) produced between 1932 and 1952. To access these reports, see the Rocky Mountain National Park Glacier Survey Reports Web page that provides links to PDF files of the original reports.
The glacier photographs in the reports are also included, individually, in our Glacier Photograph Collection database. To access these high-resolution images, see the Search & Order interface.
DAHLI IGY Glacier Photographs
This special collection is from Alaskan glacier surveys led by William O. Field during the International Geophysical Year.
Discovery and Access of Historic Literature from the IPYs (DAHLI)
seeks to locate, identify, preserve, catalog, and digitize data,
literature, photographs and other materials from the first three
IPY events: 1882-1883, 1932-1933, and 1957-1958 (IGY).
To access the photos, see the Search & Order interface. To cite photographs from the Glacier Photograph Collection, please see Citing These Data in the Glacier Photograph Collection documentation. For more information, see the DAHLI IGY Glacier Photographs Web site.
Astronaut Glacier Photographs
This special collection was taken by astronauts on the International Space Station and the Space Shuttle Endeavor.
These photos were taken between 1994 and the beginning of 2010. The photos were collected in collaboration with the The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth project. The goal is to make these photos more widely available and discoverable. To see the photos, go to the Search & Order Interface.
Antarctica Dry Valleys Glacier Photographs
This special collection consists of field photographs from the McMurdo Dry Valleys region of Antarctica.
While the valleys themselves are notably ice-free, a number of glaciers terminate in the valleys, some acting as outlets to the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. Studies show that the majority of the glaciers in this area are receding. Glaciers were photographed in the course of geologic studies and help document the conditions of the glaciers and how they may have changed. These photos are held by the Data Conservancy at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). If you have any questions, please contact Keith Kaneda of JHU. To see the photos, go to the Search & Order Interface and search for glaciers from Antarctica.
The NSIDC Glacier Photograph Collection is an ongoing effort in partnership with the NOAA Climate Database Modernization Program and the National Geophysical Data Center. This partnership allows for the digitization of photographs and other related materials and allows NSIDC to make them available online.