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The Randolph Glacier Inventory : a globally complete inventory of glaciers.

Pfeffer, W. Tad and Arendt, Anthony A. and Bliss, Andrew and Bolch, Tobias and Cogley, J. Graham and Gardner, Alex S. and Hagen, Jon-Ove and Hock, Regine and Kaser, Georg and Kienholz, Christian and Miles, Evan S. and Moholdt, Geir and Mölg, Nico and Paul, Frank and Radić, Valentina and Rastner, Philipp and Raup, Bruce H. and Rich, Justin and Sharp, Martin J. and Andreassen, L.M. and Bajracharya, S. and Barrand, N.E. and Beedle, M.J. and Berthier, E. and Bhambri, R. and Brown, I. and Burgess, D.O. and Burgess, E.W. and Cawkwell, F. and Chinn, T. and Copland, L. and Cullen, N.J. and Davies, B. and Angelis, H. De and Fountain, A.G. and Frey, H. and Giffen, B.A. and Glasser, N.F. and Gurney, S.D. and Hagg, W. and Hall, D.K. and Haritashya, U.K. and Hartmann, G. and Herreid, S. and Howat, I. and Jiskoot, H. and Khromova, T.E. and Klein, A. and Kohler, J. and König, M. and Kriegel, D. and Kutuzov, S. and Lavrentiev, I. and Le Bris, R. and Li, X. and Manley, W.F. and Mayer, C. and Menounos, B. and Mercer, A. and Mool, P. and Negrete, A. and Nosenko, G. and Nuth, C. and Osmonov, A. and Pettersson, R. and Racoviteanu, A. and Ranzi, R. and Sarıkaya, M.A. and Schneider, C. and Sigurðsson, O. and Sirguey, P. and Stokes, C.R. and Wheate, R. and Wolken, G.J. and Wu, L.Z. and Wyatt, F.R. (2014) 'The Randolph Glacier Inventory : a globally complete inventory of glaciers.', Journal of glaciology., 60 (221). pp. 537-552.


The Randolph Glacier Inventory (RGI) is a globally complete collection of digital outlines of glaciers, excluding the ice sheets, developed to meet the needs of the Fifth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for estimates of past and future mass balance. The RGI was created with limited resources in a short period. Priority was given to completeness of coverage, but a limited, uniform set of attributes is attached to each of the ∼198 000 glaciers in its latest version, 3.2. Satellite imagery from 1999–2010 provided most of the outlines. Their total extent is estimated as 726 800±34 000 km2. The uncertainty, about ±5%, is derived from careful single-glacier and basin-scale uncertainty estimates and comparisons with inventories that were not sources for the RGI. The main contributors to uncertainty are probably misinterpretation of seasonal snow cover and debris cover. These errors appear not to be normally distributed, and quantifying them reliably is an unsolved problem. Combined with digital elevation models, the RGI glacier outlines yield hypsometries that can be combined with atmospheric data or model outputs for analysis of the impacts of climatic change on glaciers. The RGI has already proved its value in the generation of significantly improved aggregate estimates of glacier mass changes and total volume, and thus actual and potential contributions to sea-level rise.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Antarctic glaciology, Arctic glaciology, Glacier delineation, Glacier mapping, Remote sensing, Tropical glaciology.
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution.
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Publisher statement:This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:11 February 2015
Date of first online publication:10 July 2017
Date first made open access:No date available

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