Glacier change information from the World Glacier Monitoring Service
Language: German / English / Spanish / Russian
Runs offline: yes
Last update: Android 31/10/2016 (v. 1.0.2) – iOS 09/11/2016 (v. 1.0.2)
Notes: article updated on 13/01/2017
After two years of development, the WGMS has launched the app WGMS Glacier in the framework of the COP21 in Paris. This app allows to see the melting of glaciers due to climate changes that are being experienced. The application provides information on over 3,700 glaciers in the world, although for some of them the data are scarce.
The application offers the following options:
- A map which displays the location of the different glaciers and from which you can access to their identification datasheets.
- Ability to save glaciers as favorites.
- A compass which indicates the nearest glaciers to the user localization.
- A top trumps card game to compete against the smartphone or tablet and learn some characteristics of glaciers.
The datasheet for each glacier includes the following fields (not always there is data for each): photography; country (represented by the flag); name; mountain range; area (in km2); length (in km); and maximum and minimum elevation (m.a.s.l.). The app also includes three graphs that represent clearly the melting of glaciers: the changes in cumulative front variation (in meters); anual mass balance graph (in mm water equivalent); and mean annual thickness change graph (mm/year). It also includes an access to its location on the map.
From the top right you can access to the textual search by glacier, mountain range, country, etc. (names must be entered in English). This search allows you to filter the results (click on the symbol of the funnel) in relation to three variables: length, mass balance and thickness. Only glaciers with recent observations are shown.
Images: Screenshot 09/12/2015. ©WGMS
The melting of glaciers is one of the phenomena that more clearly shows the effects of global warming. In addition to the concern that is causing the fast melting of parts of Greenland by the sea level rise that could pose, one of the major problems caused by this fact is the water scarcity that may occur in the future. Many parts of the world depend greatly on this resource, especially during the summer months.
The information contained in the app wgms Glacier reaffirms the melting theory. For example, if you choose to do a filter based on the length of these ice masses, it is striking that of the 957 glaciers that have information about this variable, 893 appear classified as “declining”, that is to say, decreasing. In addition to the graphics, this filtering option is one of the most interesting aspects offered by the application. As an issue to correct, it would be desirable that the methodology explanations used to calculate the length, annual mass and thickness were easier to consult, as these texts are only accessible by clicking on the graphic and then on a small “i” information that appears at one end.