As the most sensitive and long series indicator and proxy of climate change, glacier change information has been regarded as the most important data resource in global change study. China is the largest middle latitude country with the largest glacier area, and has the largest glacier area around the world besides Antarctic and Greenland. The investigations of glacier distribution and their changes are thus very important, to the evaluation of water resource and building of national defense infrastructure in western China, to the developments of Chinese cryospheric research, and also to the world’s global and planetary change study.
“The Datasets of Second Glacier Inventory of China” were formally released at Bejing on December 13, 2014. The release meeting was chaired by Professor Ningliang Wang, the deputy director of Cold and Arid Region Environmental and Engineering Research Institute (CAREERI), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). Academician Dahe Qin, and Professor Shihua Lü, the secretary of Communist Party and deputy director of CAREERI, CAS, were invited to attend this meeting and remarked on the data release. Officers from related departments of Ministry of Science and Technology of China (MOST) and CAS, and tens of invited experts in related scientific fields, were also attended in the data release meeting. The reporters and journalists from People’s Daily, Guangming Daily, China Central Television (CCTV), China Daily, and other 12 news media participated the data release meeting, and published news shortly after the meeting.
The Second Glacier Inventory of China (SGI-China) was a totally new investigation on the updated distribution of Chinese glaciers after the complete of First Glacier Inventory of China (FGI-China) at 2002, under the support of a MOST project entitled “the investigation of glaciers and their changes in western China”. The glacier inventory was compiled based on Landsat TM and ETM+ images acquired between 2006 and 2010, by using the widely applied methods to delineate glacier outlines and calculate the glacier parameters. At the end of 2013, the glacier inventory of 86% glacierized area in western China was compiled. The remaining areas are mainly locate at southeastern Tibetan Plateau, where no good quality Landsat images without snow and cloud cover can be found due to the intensive influences of south Asia monsoon in this region. In current released datasets, glaciers in this region were substituted by the digitized version of FGI-China after systematic revise, and totally 6201 FGI-China glaciers with a total area of 8753km2 was used.
According to the current released Chinese glacier inventory, there are 48571 glaciers with a total area of 51840km2 in western China, and the estimated water storage amount to 4494km3. About 90% of the glacier area of SGI-China distributes in Xinjiang and Xizang provinces, while 30% and 34% distributes in the drainage basins of Yarlung Zangbo River and Tarim River.
The SGI-China datasets have been uploaded onto the Cold and Arid Region Science Data Center at Lanzhou (website http://card.westgis.ac.cn/data/f92a4346-a33f-497d-9470-2b357ccb4246). All downloads from scientific researchers or other interested peoples are welcomed.