IACS Working group
Division on Glaciers and Ice Sheets
Glacier ice thickness estimation
(2014 - 2018)
|WG co-chairs :|
|Advisory board :|
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Knowledge of the ice thickness distribution and the total volume of a glacier or ice cap is one of the most important prerequisites when addressing a number of glaciological and hydrological problems: It is essential for determining the subglacial topography, which is a necessary boundary condition for ice-flow modeling, and ultimately limits the amount of stored water, which is central for questions linked to water availability, hydrology, or sea level change. Despite this importance, knowledge about the ice thickness distribution of the various glaciers around the globe is remarkably limited. This fact is mainly due to the difficulties in measuring glacier ice thickness directly. To overcome the problem, a series of methods that aim at inferring the total volume and/or the ice thickness distribution of a glacier from the characteristics of its surface have been developed.
- Perform a model intercomparison and validation experiment for methods that infer the ice thickness distribution of a glacier from characteristics of the surface
- Perform a round-robin experiment in which the ice thickness for a set of suitable benchmark glaciers is estimated by as many methods as possible.
- Collect, validate, and intercompare the results
- Assess which methods are suitable for what situation, and present the results to the community
- Associate an estimate of the ice thickness distribution to every glacier of the Randolph Glacier Inventory (RGI)
- Continue the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) effort in the collection of ice thickness measurements
- Open call for participation in the model intercomparison and validation experiment
- Workshop presenting and discussing the results of the experiment
- Scientific publication presenting the results of the experiment to the wider community
- Estimated ice thickness distribution for every glacier included in the RGI
- Link between the provided ice thickness distribution and the RGI outlines
- Update of the WGMS Glacier Thickness Database (GlaThiDa)
- Link between GlaThiDa and the RGI
- The first phase of the Ice Thickness Models Intercomparison eXperiment (ITMIX) is completed. Results can be found in our article in The Cryosphere
- ITMIX phase two (ITMIX2) will be launched soon.
- Activities for achieving Objective B are ongoing. Result are expected for 2017.
- The second version of the Glacier Thickness Database (GlaThiDa 2.0) is available here or through the GTN-G data browser.
Deadlines relevant for the working group can be found here.
Farinotti, D., Brinkerhoff, D., Clarke, G.K.C., Fürst, J.J., Frey, H., Gantayat, P., Gillet-Chaulet, F., Girard, C., Huss, M., Leclercq, P.W., Linsbauer, A., Machguth, H., Martin, C., Maussion, F., Morlighem, M., Mosbeux, C., Pandit, A., Portmann, A., Rabatel, A., Ramsankaran, R., Reerink, T.J., Sanchez, O., Stentoft, P.A., Singh Kumari, S., van Pelt, W.J.J., Anderson, B., Benham, T., Binder, D., Dowdeswell, J.A., Fischer, A., Helfricht, K., Kutuzov, S., Lavrentiev, I., McNabb, R., Gudmundsson, G.H., Li, H., and Andreassen, L.M. (2016): How accurate are estimates of glacier ice thickness? Results from ITMIX, the Ice Thickness Models Intercomparison eXperiment. The Cryosphere Discussions. Vol. 2016, pages 1-34.
Andreassen, L.M., M. Huss, K. Melvold, H. Elvehøy, and S.H. Winsvold (2015): Ice thickness measurements and volume estimates for glaciers in Norway. Journal of Glaciology. Vol. 61 (228), pages 763-775.
Gärtner-Roer, I., K. Naegeli, M. Huss, T. Knecht, H. Machguth, and M. Zemp. (2014): A database of worldwide glacier thickness observations. Global and Planetary Change. Vol. 122, pages 330–344.