Glacier Monitoring in Switzerland (GLAMOS) aims at the long-term study of glacier changes in the Swiss Alps. The service is coordinated by the Cryospheric Commission of the Swiss Academy of Sciences (CC/SCNAT) and maintained by the Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology at ETH Zurich (VAW/ETHZ), the Department of Geosciences of the University of Fribourg, and the Department of Geography of the University of Zurich. The monitoring receives financial support from the Federal Office for the Environment FOEN, MeteoSwiss within the framework of GCOS Switzerland, and the Swiss Academy of Sciences (SCNAT). Additional support is provided by the Federal Office of Topography swisstopo.

The measurements of changes in length carried out every year at the tongues of more than hundred glaciers provide an overview of the long-term changes in Swiss glaciers. More complex methods are used to measure the mass balance both at the end of winter and in autumn, and the surface movement on selected glaciers (for example, the Great Aletsch, Allalin, Clariden, Basòdino, Giétro, Gries, Plaine Morte, Silvretta glaciers). With the help of data from the Federal Office of Topography, the change in ice volume for a larger number of glaciers at intervals of 5–10 years is determined and a new inventory of all glacier areas is regularly compiled.

Glaciers are traditionally of great scientific and economic interest in Switzerland. Glacier changes are considered one of the best indicators to detect climatic fluctuations. The glaciers as water reservoir play an important role for the economic use (drinking water, power generation). In addition, the decline in glaciers also has a significant impact on tourism, and natural hazards in the mountains (ice avalanches, lake outbursts) are often associated with glaciers.

Thanks to the ongoing, sedulous efforts of cantonal forestry services, federal offices, research institutes, hydropower companies, universities, and individuals, there are many measurement series of more than hundred years. The results are not only incorporated in current research (improvement of process understanding, calibration of glacier models), but also serve to estimate the direct and indirect effects of glacier changes on the environment.

GLAMOS data are freely available and may be used for scientific and non-commercial use under the requirement of correct indication of the source. The data can be downloaded directly from this website. Results and analyses of the data are published in various media at regular intervals.

GLAMOS Organization

The Steering Committee (StC) and the Scientific Committee (SciC) play an important role in the strategic planning of GLAMOS. The committees meet at least once a year and are composed as follows:

Steering Committee (StC)

Responsible for the management, strategic orientation and financing of GLAMOS

  • Michelle Stalder (MeteoSwiss)
  • Christian Preiswerk (SCNAT)
  • Hugo Raetzo (BAFU)
  • André Streilein (swisstopo)
  • Daniel Farinotti (ETHZ)
  • Martin Hölzle (UniFR)
  • Andreas Vieli (UZH)
Scientific Committee (SciC)

Responsible for the consultation and further development of GLAMOS, as well as for the introduction of ideas, needs and conceptions.

  • Roberto Artuso (swisstopo)
  • Martin Barben (BAFU)
  • Martin Funk (ETHZ)
  • Nils Hählen (Kt. BE)
  • Andreas Huwiler (Kt. GR)
  • Giovanni Kappenberger
  • Horst Machguth (UniFR)
  • Christoph Marty (SLF)
  • Frank Paul (UZH)
  • Pascal Stoebener (Kt. VS)
  • Michael Zemp (WGMS)

The GLAMOS Scientific Committee is open to all persons involved in glacier research and monitoring.