Division II: Glaciers

Division Head: Gwenn Flowers

Glaciers form an important part of the hydrological cycle, and have a major influence on global sea level. For example glacier runoff affects downstream domestic water supply, irrigation, and hydro power production. The Division on Glaciers aims to further the scientific objectives of the Association through support of Working Groups, organisation of scientific meetings, and promotion of the exchange of information and data in the field of glacier research. This includes a focus on measurements and modelling to better constrain the past, present and future glacier changes and related impacts.

Glaciological field and satellite measurements of glacier fluctuations and mass change are systematically collected and archived by the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and Global Land Ice Measurement from Space (GLIMS) project. These efforts are coordinated via the overarching Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers (GTN-G) which is advised by a Standing Group chaired (ex-officio) by the head of this IACS Division.

Currently relevant research topics for this division include new techniques of glaciological field and satellite observations, such as gravity variations due to ice mass changes, glacier mapping from space, determination of surface melt extent from optical and micro wave sensors, the use of automatic weather stations for glacier modeling, and ice velocity measurement from InSAR. There is also a focus on basic ice dynamic processes which are not fully understood at the level required to accurately predict the response of glaciers to climate change. Physical processes of relevance include among others measurements and modeling of iceberg calving, basal conditions, surge behavior.