Index dataset: GTN-G Glacier Regions

Digital object identifier and related metadata of the current database version

Scientific data identifier for version 2017: 10.5904/gtng-glacreg-2017-07

Creator: Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers (GTN-G)

Title: GTN-G Glacier Regions (GlacReg)

Publisher: Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers (GTN-G)

Publication year: 2017

Release date: 2017-07-10

Citation: GTN-G (2017): GTN-G Glacier Regions. Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers. DOI: 10.5904/gtng-glacreg-2017-07. Online access:

Description: Glacier regions are useful for regional assessments of glacier change and other parameters (WGMS 1989, Dyurgerov 2002, Radić and Hock 2010, Pfeffer et al. 2014). This dataset defines 19 first-order glacier regions and more than 90 second-order regions encompassing all of earth’s glaciers and ice caps. It is an update of the RGI dataset 5.0 (Arendt et al., 2015) with some small modifications from the WGMS (2016) glacier regions. Both of these datasets derive ultimately from glacier regions defined by the GLIMS project around the year 2000 and from Radić and Hock (2010).

This GTN-G Glacier Regions dataset is a joint set of regions recommended by the Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers (GTN-G) Advisory Board, the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space initiative (GLIMS), the Randolph Glacier Inventory (RGI) Working Group of the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences (IACS), and the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS). These glacier regions are implemented in RGI 6.0 (RGI Consortium, 2017) and in the Global Glacier Change Bulletin (WGMS 2017).

Details of how the GTN-G glacier regions differs from RGI 5.0 (Arendt et al. 2015) are listed below:

  1. A) Order 1 regions:
    (1) Northern boundary of region 2 (Western Canada and USA) is moved south to exclude Melville Island glacier subregion 02-01 (shrinking the region);
    (2) Western boundary of region 3 (Arctic Canda North) is moved west to include Melville Island subregion (expanding the region);
    (3) Extra box tacked onto region 10 to include Japanese “glaciers” (expanding the region).
  2. B) Order 2 regions:
    (4) Subregion 02-01 Melville Island is moved to region 3 (Arctic Canada North)
    (5) New sub-region 10-07 for the expansion that covers Japan
    (6) Subregion 19-31 renamed (from Antarctic Ice Sheet) to “Antarctic Mainland” in order to cover glaciers such as on the Antarctic Peninsula or in the Dry Valleys.

Related publications:

Arendt et al. (2015): Randolph Glacier Inventory – A Dataset of Global Glacier Outlines: Version 5.0. Global Land Ice Measurements from Space, Boulder Colorado, USA. Digital Media.
Pfeffer et al. (2014): The Randolph Glacier Inventory – A Globally Complete Inventory of Glaciers. Journal of Glaciology 60, 221: 537-551.
Dyurgerov, M. B. (2002): Glacier mass balance and regime: data of measurements and analysis. (INSTAAR Occasional Paper No. 55). Boulder CO, USA.
Radić and Hock (2010): Regional and global volumes of glaciers derived from statistical upscaling of glacier inventory data. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface 115.F01010, doi:10.1029/2009JF001373.
RGI Consortium (2017): Randolph Glacier Inventory (RGI) – A Dataset of Global Glacier Outlines: Version 6.0. Technical Report, Global Land Ice Measurements from Space, Boulder Colorado, USA. Digital Media.
WGMS (1989): World glacier inventory – Status 1988. Haeberli, W., Bösch, H., Scherler, K., Østrem, G. and Wallén, C. C. (eds.), IAHS (ICSI) / UNEP / UNESCO, World Glacier Monitoring Service, Zurich, Switzerland: 458 pp.
WGMS (2016): Glacier Regions. World Glacier Monitoring Service, Zurich, Switzerland. DOI: 10.5904/wgms-glacreg-2016-10. Online access: http.//
WGMS (2017): Global Glacier Change Bulletin No. 2 (2014–2015). Zemp et al. (eds.), ICSU(WDS)/IUGG(IACS)/UNEP/UNESCO/WMO, World Glacier Monitoring Service, Zurich, Switzerland, publication based on databaseversion: doi:10.5904/wgms-fog-2017-06.

Language: English

Data format: shapefile, zipped

Data size: 2 MB

Rights: Open access for scientific and educational purposes under requirement of correct citation (see above)

Spatial coverage: global

Temporal coverage: modern era (since the last ice age)

The data might be subject to errors and inaccuracies. Hence, we strongly suggest to perform data quality checks and, in case of ambiguities, to contact us.

release datedoimetadatadata downloadonline access
2017 (current)10.5904/gtng-glacreg-2017-07websitezip file
201610.5904/wgms-glacreg-2016-10websitezip file
2015websitezip file
last change 6/12/2022