Ice is life: research reveals all the latest data on Italian glaciers

The new Italian Glacier Inventory has been published, thanks to years of work, data collection, updates, and discoveries.

It is a huge labour, a fundamental publication, not only for the academic and scientific world. Glaciers are our resource of freshwater. And they are relentlessly shrinking.


The new Italian Glacier Inventory is a complete atlas, updated after 50 years from the last publication. It is a document assessing Alpine glaciers’ conditions, though images, data, and satellite pictures.




The inventory has been officially presented in occasion of the 19th Alpine Glaciology Meeting, the most important European glaciology conference dedicated to Alps, and it has been carried out by a group of researchers and students, led by Claudio Smiraglia, professor of Physical Geography and Geomorphology at the University of Milan, and assisted by Agostino Da Polenza, Ev-K2-CNR president, and Guglielmina Diolaiuti.


The publication has been supported by the association Ev-K2-CNR, the Italian outpost at the foot of Himalaya, The Italian Glaciological Committee, and Levissima, which financed the research through private funds. “We are proud of presenting today the publication of the New Italian Glacier Inventory. The Inventory is an essential tool to understand the health conditions of Alpine glaciers, which evolution is the main indicator of the ongoing climate change,” said Claudio Smiraglia.


Facts and figures


903 glaciers, a total surface of 369 km2, with a majority of small and fragmented glaciers;

6 Italian regions are interested, and one (Abruzzo) is not an Alpine region.

-30% (157 km2), from 527 km2 to 370 km2 (3 kmlost every year).

The Italian glaciers are numerous, fragmented, and small, with an avarage area of 0.4 km².

Only three glaciers have an area larger than 10 km2: I Forni glacier, Lombardy region (Stelvio National Park), Miage glacier, Aosta Valley (Mont Blanc), and Adamello-Mandrone, Lombardy and Trentino regions (Adamello Park).

“The new Italian Glacier Inventory allows us evaluating the evolution of glaciers over the last decades, and quantifying morphology variations caused by the ongoing climate change.”

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