More Data and Better Tools for the GLIMS Glacier Database
Abstract:Earth's glaciers are changing rapidly in response to a changing climate, and this has implications for people in numerous ways, such as increased hazards from glacial lake outburst floods, changes to water resources, and increasing sea level. To understand these changes, it is vitally important to monitor glaciers through time, measuring their areal extent, changes in volume, flow velocities, snow lines, elevation distribution, and changes to associated water bodies. The glacier database of the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) initiative is the only multi-temporal glacier database capable of tracking all these glacier measurements and providing them to the scientific community and broader public.
This contribution presents recent results in 1) expansion of the GLIMS Glacier Database in geographic coverage by drawing on the Randolph Glacier Inventory (RGI) and other new data sets; 2) new tools for visualizing and downloading GLIMS data in a choice of formats and data models; 3) a new data model for handling multiple glacier records through time while avoiding double-counting of glacier number or area; and 4) a new system of collaboration between all members of the glacier mapping community to streamline the process of meeting various community needs. The result of this work promises to be an improved glacier data repository that will be useful for tracking changes in water resources, hazards, and mass budgets of the world's glaciers.