World Glaciers Explorer

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The world glacier explorer is an interactive application allowing to explore the location of the glaciers and their climate.

You can start the app by clicking on this link: badgelink

The app contains five elements:

  • the header text indicates how many glaciers are currently selected (active), and how much of the total area they represent.
  • the top left panel is a map of the glacier locations and their area. Moving the mouse over a glacier pixel gives you its glaciated area. Be aware that the map projection is misleading: northern latitudes appear much bigger on the map than they really are.
  • the top right panel displays the elevation of the glaciers with respect to their latitude.
  • the bottom left panel shows the histogram of the glaciers’ mean temperature (at the glacier’s mean elevation).
  • the bottom right panel shows the histogram of the glaciers’ mean annual precipitation (liquid and solid).

When selecting data in each of these panels, the other panels are actualized automatically, allowing to ask questions such as:

  • where are the wettest glaciers located? And the driest?
  • is there a relationship between temperature and precipitation?
  • how much glacier area is found on Greenland? In the European Alps?
  • what is the relationship between latitude and glacier elevation?

Authors

Philipp Rudiger and James Bednar from PyViz, based on an original Dash application by Fabien Maussion.

Data sources

The app displays all glaciers worldwide with the exception of Antarctica, where no climate data is available. Glacier location and area are obtained from the Randolph Glacier Inventory version 6.

The climate data (temperature and precipitation) is extracted from the CRU TS v4.01 data provided by the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia.

Topography data is obtained from various data sources.

The data processing was realized with the OGGM model for this scientific paper.

Possible improvements

  • By using other data sources (e.g. ERA-Interim), it would be possible to plot the Antarctic glaciers as well.
  • The elevation / latitude plot could also be binned an colored per area, although it might be inaccurate because the data does not contain multiple elevations bands per glaciers (yet).
  • With a category choice bar, it would be possible to differentiate glaciers from ice-caps or marine terminating glaciers from land-terminating ones.
  • By using the data from the global ITMIX experiment, it is possible to convert a selection into sea-level rise equivalent.