Activities  Assessments  Glaciers changes

Financially supported by UNEP and with the help of DEWA/GRID-Europe, the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) launched with UNEP a new publicaton on Glacier changes.

During the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in September 2008, UNEP/DEWA and the WGMS released the report Global Glacier Changes: Facts and Figures. The report presents the latest fluctuations of glaciers and ice caps and underlines the overall trend of glaciers’ retreat.

Among the conclusions of the report, given the urgency of climate change and the need for scientifically-based adaptation strategies, it is now essential to re-initiate interrupted long-term series in strategically important regions. It is equally urgent to strengthen the monitoring network in those regions which at the moment have sparse coverage and to include the latest technologies such as high-resolution remote sensing to compliment the traditional field observations. The report is available from

With the support of several UN organizations, including UNEP, WGMS also publishes the five-yearly series 'Fluctuations of Glaciers' (FoG) including internationally collected, standardized data on changes in glaciers throughout the world. The objectives of the publication are to reproduce a global set of data which affords a general view of the changes, encourage more extensive measurements, invite further processing of the results, facilitate consultation of the further sources, and serve as a basis for research. In fact, this standardized data publication can be regarded as a working tool for the scientific community, especially concerning the fields of glaciology, climatology, hydrology and quarternary geology. As such, this effort also contributes to the strengthening of the scientific basis of UNEP's assessment activities, requiring that sound assessments must be based on reliable data. As a key component, the Global Environment Outlook reporting process greatly benefits from the continued data collection on changes in glacier mass and volume. Fluctuations of Glaciers VIII for the years 1995-2000 is available both as a hardcopy and pdf (see

The FoG series is complemented by regular publications of the Glacier Mass Balance Bulletin (MBB), designed to speed up and facilitate access to information concerning glacier mass balances by reporting measured values from selected reference glaciers at two-year intervals. The MBB reports are available at