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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 7, issue 1
The Cryosphere, 7, 141-151, 2013
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-7-141-2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Interactions between climate change and the Cryosphere: SVALI,...

The Cryosphere, 7, 141-151, 2013
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-7-141-2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 30 Jan 2013

Research article | 30 Jan 2013

An estimate of global glacier volume

A. Grinsted A. Grinsted
  • College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
  • Centre for Ice and Climate, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Abstract. I assess the feasibility of using multivariate scaling relationships to estimate glacier volume from glacier inventory data. Scaling laws are calibrated against volume observations optimized for the specific purpose of estimating total global glacier ice volume. I find that adjustments for continentality and elevation range improve skill of area–volume scaling. These scaling relationships are applied to each record in the Randolph Glacier Inventory, which is the first globally complete inventory of glaciers and ice caps. I estimate that the total volume of all glaciers in the world is 0.35 ± 0.07 m sea level equivalent, including ice sheet peripheral glaciers. This is substantially less than a recent state-of-the-art estimate. Area–volume scaling bias issues for large ice masses, and incomplete inventory data are offered as explanations for the difference.

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