Randolph Glacier Inventory data base of global glacier outlines

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The Randolph Glacier Inventory (RGI) is a global data base of glacier outlines. It is intended for estimates of ice volume and glacier mass at regional and global scales. The data are organized into 19 large regions, with a shapefile provided for each region. The RGI is produced as part of the Global Land Ice Measurements from Space (GLIMS) initiative, a project to compile glacier information using remote sensing, primarily from optical instruments such as ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and reflection Radiometer).

Key Strengths

Key Strengths

One of the most comprehensive and up-to-date inventories of world glaciers; contains approximately 682,605 km^2 of glacier area

The glacier outlines can be combined with DEMs to give areas, area distributions and area-elevation distributions

Key Limitations

Key Limitations

Lacks glacier IDs and other metadata found in other inventories

Glaciers on the periphery of Greenland and Antarctica are included but it is sometimes ambiguous whether they are part of the ice sheets

Scaling glacier observations to contributions to sea level requires accounting for unobserved glaciers, as well as empirical or modeled relationships between a glacier's area and its volume, mass or mass balance

Please cite data sources, following the data providers' instructions
Dataset DOIs
Hosted Climate Index Files
Usage Restrictions

Register with PIs on GLIMS website. No redistribution.

Cite this page

Acknowledgement of any material taken from or knowledge gained from this page is appreciated:

National Center for Atmospheric Research Staff (Eds). Last modified "The Climate Data Guide: Randolph Glacier Inventory data base of global glacier outlines.” Retrieved from https://climatedataguide.ucar.edu/climate-data/randolph-glacier-inventory-data-base-global-glacier-outlines on 2024-04-17.

Citation of datasets is separate and should be done according to the data providers' instructions. If known to us, data citation instructions are given in the Data Access section, above.

Acknowledgement of the Climate Data Guide project is also appreciated:

Schneider, D. P., C. Deser, J. Fasullo, and K. E. Trenberth, 2013: Climate Data Guide Spurs Discovery and Understanding. Eos Trans. AGU, 94, 121–122, https://doi.org/10.1002/2013eo130001

Other Information

Earth system components and main variables
Dataset collections

Years of record
Data time period extended
Input Data

ASTER imagery

Vertical Levels:
Missing Data Flag
Ocean or Land
Land Only
Spatial Resolution
Model Resolution (reanalysis)
Data Assimilation Method
Model Vintage (reanalysis)

Key Publications
Not available...