GLIMS began as an ASTER Science Team project. Through this connection, we have guided the ASTER instrument to acquire imagery of Earth's glaciers in a way that is optimized (best season and instrument gain settings) for glacier monitoring. We have also put together a network of international collaborators who analyze imagery of glaciers in their regions of expertise. Analysis results include primarily digital glacier outlines, related metadata, and literature references, and increasingly includes snow lines, center flow lines, and hypsometry data. Surface velocity fields will be included in the future. Results from analysis done by the Regional Centers are sent for archive to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).


Regional Center Concept - an overview of the coordination and responsibilities of the Regional Centers

Collaborators (alphabetical listing) - the organizations and individuals participating in GLIMS, what roles they play, and related information
Regional Centers and Stewards - Institutions grouped by Regional Center and Stewards
Contributors - contributors of data in the GLIMS Glacier Database (built from the database dynamically)

Getting involved with GLIMS

GLIMS Mailing List

GLIMS uses an e-mail list to coordinate workshops, discuss technical issues, and for the core members to let all participants know about updates on GLIMS. For information, archives and to subscribe, please visit:

GLIMS Structure and History

GLIMS Core Team

Organizational Flow - Block diagram illustrating the organizational flow of GLIMS

History of GLIMS

Detailed Overview of GLIMS - Original (1998) GLIMS Operational Plan whitepaper

Related Organizations and Programmes

Applications of GLIMS

Global Change Detection
Glacial changes are indicators of changes in regional and global climate. GLIMS' mission to establish a global inventory of ice will provide the community with data for later comparison. Monitoring glaciers across the globe and understanding not only the cause of those changes, but the effects, will lead us to a greater understanding of global change and its causes.
Hazards Detection and Assessment
Glacial changes may represent hazards for communities living near them. Outburst floods, landslides, debris flows, and debris avalanches can destroy property and take lives in a sudden rush of water, ice, sediment, rock, soil, and debris. Ice avalanches can trigger far-reaching hazards such as enormous snow avalanches, lake outbursts, and mud flows. It is not clear yet whether some of these hazards are a normal part of glacier behavior, or whether they signal dramatic new threats from a changing cryosphere.
Glacier Monitoring
Understanding glaciers leads us to a greater understanding of our climate system, climate change, the formation of ice ages, and effects of global warming. Through the long-term monitoring of the world's glaciers we are able to build a base of historical data, detect climate changes early, and predict and avoid hazards to human communities living in the proximity of glaciers. Glaciers are monitored in a variety of manners, such as in-situ mass balance measurements, and air- and spaceborne imaging systems, such as the primary data source used by GLIMS, the ASTER instrument on the Terra spacecraft.

Impacts of GLIMS