A Workshop on Assessing Global Glacier Recession

16-18 March 2003

A three-day workshop will be convened at NSIDC, with the aim of evaluating current methods of determining the worldwide recession of mountain glaciers over the last half-century or longer. Recent evidence suggests an acceleration of glacier mass loss in several key regions, and a more comprehensive evaluation of glacier changes is imperative in order to assess ice contributions to global sea level rise and the future of water resources from glacierized basins. The inadequacy of conventional field surveys, the declining number of glaciers being routinely monitored, and the current status of the World Glacier Inventory (which describes barely 44 percent of world glaciers with, in most cases, few specifics as to their characteristics) indicate the necessity for a new coordinated approach.

The recent availability of high-resolution Landsat 7 and ASTER satellite images, along with new digital inventories of glaciers in the former Soviet Union and in China, combined with GIS techniques, offer one potential solution. The broader impacts of this workshop include bringing together experts from leading groups, as well as under-represented young and female scientists from North America and elsewhere. About 25-30 selected individuals will be funded, and the workshop will be open to other interested individuals by invitation. There is a training dimension in the planned demonstration of new GIS-based mapping techniques using ASTER imagery and digital databases. The publication of a workshop report in EOS, for example, will bring the ideas to a wide scientific audience, and recommendations will be fed into the Global Cryospheric Observing System (GCOS) strategy for terrestrial observations for climate that supports the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments.

Roger G. Barry
NSIDC Director




Final Report

Denver Glacier

Denver Glacier, 19121912
Denver Glacier, 19381938
Denver Glacier, 19581958

Source: Glacier Photograph Collection at NSIDC

See also: World Glacier Inventory, All About Glaciers, and State of the Cryosphere: Mountain Glacier Fluctuations