The World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) is an international data repository as well as an international data analyzing service, operating under the auspices of the International Science Council, the United Nations, and the World Meteorological Organization. As such, the WGMS collects standardized observations on changes in mass, volume, area and length of glaciers with time (glacier fluctuations), as well as statistical information on the distribution of perennial surface ice in space (glacier inventories). Such glacier fluctuation and inventory data are high priority key variables in climate system monitoring; they form a basis for hydrological modelling with respect to possible effects of atmospheric warming, and provide fundamental information in glaciology, glacial geomorphology and quaternary geology.
The WGMS is hosted at the Department of Geography and is jointly supported by the University Zurich and by the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss within the framework of GCOS Switzerland. As such, the WGMS is an independent research unit and contributes to research and teaching of the Department, in close collaboration with the Glaciology and Geomorphodynamics Group (3G). The WGMS staff trains students in the monitoring of glaciers and supervises Bachelor, Master and PhD theses on glacier-related topics.
Since 2021, the WGMS has been recognized as official UZH Technology Platform and contributes to research excellence by providing professional and efficient access to its data, information, and services in collaboration with its worldwide collaboration network.
More information on the WGMS can be found here.