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Glossary of glacier mass balance and related terms

Glossary of glacier mass balance and related terms
  • nternational Association of Cryospheric Sciences (IACS), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). August 2011
  • This glossary, produced by a Working Group of the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences (IACS), is the first comprehensive update of glacier mass-balance terms for more than 40 years. The mass balance of a glacier is a measure of the change in mass of the glacier, or part of it, over a period of time. Mass-balance data help to explain why a particular glacier system may be advancing or retreating and what climate drivers (e.g. decreased snow accumulation; increased surface melt) are responsible for the changes. Mass-balance information is essential for defining the links between past, present and future climate changes and changes to glaciers in assessments such as those made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Having a systematic, concise and unambiguous mass-balance terminology is a critical part of this. The purpose of the Glossary is to promote clarity and reduce ambiguity in the communication of information about glacier mass balance. The Glossary represents a consensus among a group of practising glaciologists.
  • Geographical coverage: Global
  • Main themes: Glaciers
  • Main target audience: Practitioners, Scientists
  • Main purpose: Guidance
  • Type of resource: Glossary
  • Download file (4.5 MB)
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Published in 2015