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Locations of glacier observations provided by the World Glacier Monitoring Service, Zurich, Switzerland
Uploaded on Tuesday 21 Feb 2012
Glaciers monitored through the World Glacier Monitoring Service
Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal
Worldwide collection of information about ongoing glacier changes was initiated in 1894 with the foundation of the International Glacier Commission at the 6th International Geological Congress in Zurich, Switzerland. Today, the World Glacier Monitoring Service continues to collect and publish standardized information on ongoing glacier changes. WGMS is a service of the Commission for the Cryospheric Sciences of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (CCS/IUGG) and maintains a network of local investigators and national correspondents in all the countries involved in glacier monitoring. In addition, the WGMS is in charge of the Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers (GTN-G) within the Global Climate/Terrestrial Observing System. GTN-G aims at combining (a) in-situ observations with remotely sensed data, (b) process understanding with global coverage and (c) traditional measurements with new technologies by using an integrated and multi-level strategy. Recently, a scientific working group has been established to coordinate the monitoring and assessment of glacier and permafrost hazards in mountains. To keep track of the fast changes in nature and to assess corresponding impacts on landscape evolution, fresh water supply and natural hazards, monitoring strategies will have to make use of the rapidly developing new technologies (remote sensing and geo-informatics) and relate them to the more traditional methods.