EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Geologic Division's Global Change and Climate History Program sponsored a Workshop on Long-Term Monitoring of Glaciers of North America and Northwestern Europe on 11-13 September 1996 hosted by the USGS (WRD) Ice and Climate Project at the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA. The primary motivation for the Workshop was the recognition that airborne and satellite remote sensing of areal and volumetric changes in glaciers had reached the stage where quantitative scientific information could be derived from remotely-sensed data that had previously only been available from direct field measurements. In addition, many long-term national glacier-observation networks that had been established in the U.S. and Canada after World War II were being reduced or eliminated because of budgetary cutbacks. Institutional and programmatic reductions have caused the termination of many long-term datasets that are especially valuable in determining whether observed changes in key environmental parameters, such as glaciers, caused by changes in regional or local climate, are the result of natural variability, impact of human activity, or both. The Workshop provided the opportunity to develop a new strategy using satellite remote sensing, in conjunction with ground-based observations, to continue and possibly expand the existing ground-based network of glaciers being studied and monitored by various institutions in North America and Northwestern Europe. Such a plan would maximize the scientific results while utilizing available governmental funding in the most efficient and cost-effective way.

Thirty-two scientists with special knowledge of the glaciers of North America (Alaska, Canada, Western U.S., and Greenland) and Northwestern Europe (Iceland, Jan Mayen, Svalbard, Norway, Sweden, and the Russian Arctic Islands) participated; they represented 17 different institutions, including 7 U.S. and 10 foreign. The four science divisions of the USGS [Biological Resources Division (BRD), Geologic Division (GD), National Mapping Division (NMD), and the Water Resources Division (WRD)] and the U.S. National Park Service of the U.S. Department of the Interior were all represented.

Part I of the Workshop included presentations by glaciologists from North America and Northwestern Europe on "Existing Data Bases and Current Status of Monitoring Glaciers of North America and Northwestern Europe." Part II of the Workshop included presentations by glaciologists, other scientists, and engineers about "Current and Planned Remote Sensing Technology for Monitoring Glaciers." Part III of the Workshop was composed of presentations by glaciological-archive managers [for example; UNESCO's World Glacier Monitoring Service (Zürich, Switzerland); NOAA's National Snow and Ice Data Center/World Data Center - A for Glaciology (Boulder, CO); and the USGS EROS Data Center (Sioux Falls, SD), etc.] on "International Data Centers for Archiving Ground, Airborne and Satellite Data of Glaciers."

Following the presentations, round-table discussions were held. The general consensus reached was:

As a result of the discussions at the Workshop, the following recommendations are presented in the following two pages:

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