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Where are the World’s Glaciers?

Ever wondered where all of the worlds glaciers are located? In recent years, there has been a lot of publicity regarding the melting of glaciers and ice sheets related to global warming. The vast majority of glacial ice, approximately 99%, is containtained in the large continental ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland. However, the last 1% of glacial ice is contained in mountain ranges across every continent, except for Austrailia. It may be surprising, but glacial ice is the largest reservoir of fresh water on Earth. Glacial meltwater is an important water source in many areas. 

Below is a map created from a recent global inventory of glaciers. This map shows the location of glaciers across the globe. The map was created in Surfer 12 using a combination of data from the glacial survery and base maps available for free on the Golden Software Support Central website.

S12 Glaciers

This study chose to exclude large continental-scale ice sheets such as those in Greenland and Antarctica. As such, you do not see large "pink" areas across those locations on the map above. This study mapped the approximately 198,000 glaciers across the globe

The original study was published by the International Glaciological Society in the Journal of Glaciology “The Randolph Glacier Inventory: a globally complete inventory of glaciers“. The GIS dataset was rapidly developed in less than two years in order to meet the requirements of the Fifth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). If you are interested in viewing or downloading the entire GLIMS Data, it is available in a shapefile format from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, CO.  Some of the information in this post was found in the article "GIS Data of the World's Glaciers" by Caitlyn Dempsey Morais on

In addition to the data listed above, Golden Software has a variety of free downloads available for use by our customers, including boundary files and base maps available in the Downloads section of our Support Central. If you do not find what you need, we suggest search the web for boundary files. Try starting with our Useful Links page.

If you have any questions about making maps like this, please feel free to contact Golden Software Support. The follow is an overview of the Support Resources available through Golden Software:

Phone Support
8:00 am to 5:00 pm Mountain Time, Monday through Friday (excluding US holidays)
+1 303 279 1021
+1 800 972 1021

LiveChat (available through the Golden Software website)
9:00 am to 4:00 pm Mountain Time, Monday through Friday (excluding US holidays)

Golden Software offers many additional resources to assist you in learning the program:
- Tutorials: to access, click Help | Tutorials.
- Support Central ( provides access to:
   - Training Videos
   - Quick Start Guides
   - Online Forums
   - Knowledge Base
   - Newsletters




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Friday, 09 December 2022

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