Glossary mass balance

Cited from the Glossary, p. 2:
“An early proposal for uniform usage in the study of mass balance came from Mark Meier (1962). The terms and the organizing framework of that paper provoked considerable interest and discussion, and evolved into a consensus which was published as Technical Papers in Hydrology , No. 3, by UNESCO/IASH in 1970, although the source most often cited is Anonymous (1969), a digest of the UNESCO/IASH recommendations which appeared in the Journal of Glaciology, 8(52), 1969.”

Glacier Randolph Inventory (RGI)

This working group aims to maintain and further develop the Randolph Glacier Inventory (RGI). The RGI is a globally complete dataset of glacier outlines with a ‘frozen’ time stamp for use primarily in global/regional scale glacier mass change assessments and modeling. The RGI is derived from glacier outlines from GLIMS (Global Land Ice Measurements from Space) and is also hosted at GLIMS.

Download the 2019 proposal to IACS here.

RGI tools: Topographic maps for each RGI glacier

Working Group on Regional Mass Change

This working group (WG) aims to assess regional glacier mass changes using various observation technologies with the ultimate goal to obtain new consensus estimates of global glacier mass changes and related uncertainties.

Download the 2019 proposal to IACS here.

RAGMAC outcome (webinars, posters, papers) here.

RAGMAC Kick-off meeting presentation (January 2020) including video here.

Image credit: Terra satellite image of Axel Heiberg Island from 29 August 2008 (NASA Earth Observatory). Note: North is to the right.

Co-sponsored events

IACS has co-sponsored cryosphere-related workshops, educational or other events, for example, with financial support (typically with a maximum of 3000 Euros per event) or early-career scientists awards at conferences. Organizers of such events can request support from IACS. Further information here.


Here you find IACS documents such as reports to IUGG summarizing IACS activities (annually and every 4 years) and minutes from the IACS Plenary Administrative Sessions (held with all National Delegates every 4 years at IUGG meetings)