Glacier Monitoring from Space

Sentinel image
Melting glaciers in Russia's Arctic territory. This image shows the blue glaciers on the reddish-brown Franz Josef Land archipelago in the Arctic Ocean (black). The glaciers (blue) are covered with little or no snow (white), which is a clear indicator of significant loss of mass. (Copernicus Sentinel data 2017)

For more than 125 years, the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) and its predecessor organizations have been in charge of the internationally coordinated glacier monitoring. The WGMS is compiling, analyzing and disseminating data and information of glacier changes in length, area, volume and mass. These data are collected from a worldwide network of in-situ programs and combined with assessments from space-borne remote sensing. The WGMS actively fosters glacier observations from space through research and development projects of the European Space Agency ( as well as by providing  glacier distribution and change services to the Copernicus Climate Change Service and to the Global Climate Observing System.


Michael Zemp


Prof. Dr. Michael Zemp
Director World Glacier Monitoring Service
University of Zurich
Department of Geography

Glaciology and Geomorphodynamics
Winterthurerstrasse 190
CH-8057 Zurich
Tel: +41 44 635 5139