Glacier Regions

Index dataset: Glacier Regions

Digital object identifier and related metadata of the current database version

Scientific data identifier for version 2016: 10.5904/wgms-glacreg-2016-10

Creator: World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS)

Title: Glacier Regions (GlacReg)

Publisher: World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS)

Publication year: 2016

Release date: 2016-10-15

Citation: WGMS (2016): Glacier Regions. World Glacier Monitoring Service, Zurich, Switzerland. DOI: 10.5904/wgms-glacreg-2016-10. Online access:

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.F1.
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.

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)

Description: For regional analysis and comparison of data, it is convenient to group glaciers by proximity (WGMS 1989, Dyurgerov 2002, Radić and Hock 2010, Pfeffer et al. 2014). The present dataset defines 19 first-order glacier regions and more than 90 second-order regions encompassing the full glacier coverage. The dataset is based on the Randolph Glacier Inventory RGI v5.0 (Arendt et al., 2015), but includes a number of relatively small modifications in order to better fulfill the needs of both glacier inventory and fluctuation data sets.

Details of how the current version differs from RGI 5.0 are listed below:
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) Northern boundary of region 12 (Caucasus and Middle East) is moved north, expanding the region;
(4) Extra box tacked onto region 10 to include Japanese “glaciers” (expanding the region).
B) Order 2 regions:
(5) Subregion 02-01 Melville Island is added to region 3 (Arctic Canada North)
(6) Split of RGI 11-02 (Southern and Eastern Europe) into two more tightly fitting boxes
(7) Split of sub-region 08-01 (S Norway) into two pieces, coastal and inland (SCA-01 and SCA-03)
(8) Expansion of sub-region 12-01 in region 12 to follow expansion of the order-1 outline (point 3 above)
(9) New sub-region 10-07 for the expansion that covers Japan
(10) Addition of sub-region in region 19 (Antarctic and Subantarctic) for the Antarctic peninsula, with a cut-off at 70 degrees south latitude.

Spatial coverage: global

Temporal coverage: n.a.

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 as well as the investigators and sponsoring agencies of the glaciers.

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