The Randolph Glacier inventory: a globally complete inventory of glaciers

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Pfeffer, W. Tad
Arendt, Anthony A.
Bliss, Andrew
Bolch, Tobias
Cogley, J. Graham
Gardner, Alex S.
Hagen, Jon-Ove
Hock, Regine
Kaser, Georg
Kienholz, Christian
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International Glaciological Society
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 198000 glaciers in its latest version, 3.2. Satellite imagery from 1999–2010 provided most of the outlines. Their total extent is estimated as 726800 34000km2.The uncertainty, about 5%,is derived fromcarefulsingle-glacierand 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 reliablyis 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.
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Antarctic glaciology , Arctic glaciology , Glacier delineation , Glacier mapping , Remote sensing , Tropical glaciology
Pfeffer, W. T., Arendt, A. A., Bliss, A., Bolch, T., Cogley, J. G., Gardner, A. S.,...The Randolph Consortium (incl Jiskoot, H.). The Randolph Glacier inventory: A globally complete inventory of glaciers. Journal of Glaciology, 60(221), 537-552. doi: 10.3189/2014JoG13J176