National Glacier-Climate Observing System – State and Evolution of Canada's Glaciers (SECG) (SECG)

Updated 2012-08-28

The State and Evolution of Canada's Glaciers initiative provides information and data products produced by the Federal Government's National Glacier-Climate Observing System (monitoring, assessment and data portal) and related freshwater vulnerability research in western and northern Canada. The Glacier-Climate Observing System is delivered through an integrated monitoring and research collaborative comprised of Natural Resources Canada-Geological Survey of Canada (lead agency), Geomatics Canada-Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, Environment Canada-National Water Research Institute and Water Survey of Canada, Parks Canada Agency, C-CORE Polar View, and academic partners that include the universities of British Columbia, Northern British Columbia, Alberta, Calgary, Lethbridge, Saskatchewan, Regina, Toronto, Brock, Trent and Ottawa, and related academic initiatives such as the Cold Water Collaborative and those supported by the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Science. SECG is a contribution to the NRCan Earth Sciences Sector - Climate Change Geoscience Program. With this data research is conducted on the relationship between climate, glacier fluctuations and their impacts on freshwater systems (e.g., river flow, cold stream ecology, groundwater recharge, flow to oceans). The development of improved remote sensing tools is also a major research thrust. With the support of the Canadian Space Agency, European Space Agency, the Canadian Consortium for Lidar Environmental Applications Research (C-CLEAR), and the NASA - Wallops Flight Facility, new tools and a systematic approach are increasingly brought to bear to understand more completely and with reduced uncertainty the magnitude, causality and impacts of Canada's changing glaciers. System outputs are used to a) inform national and international climate change programs and process; b) improve knowledge regarding the nature and locations of historical, current, and potential future impacts of climate change, c) assist Canadians in understanding and adapting to climate change impacts on natural resources at a regional and national scale. The System also provides leadership and co-ordination of Canada's contribution to World Meteorological Organization’s Global Terrestrial Observing System (GTOS) and its Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers (GTN-G), the contribution of Essential Climate Variables for GEO/GEOSS, and providing such as Official Communications to the Parties of the Convention UNFCCC. Main gaps: Regional representativeness has been improving with the re-establishment of former sites or the establishment of new sites. Contributions to thematic needs such as water resources, flow to oceans and sea-level change will require improved co-ordination with hydrometric and other monitoring entities. Which Network type: - Thematical observations: yes - Field stations: yes, 20 reference observing sites - Community based observations: some in development (Grise Fjord) - Coordination: SECG guides and co-ordinates observations conducted by partners; SECG co-ordinates reporting for Canada (e.g., GCOS-GTN-G, WGMS)

Time frame

Project time span
1960 -
Data collection
1960 -
Data processing
1960 -
Data reporting
1960 -

Contact information

Contact person
Mike Demuth

Parameters and Media

Parameter groups measured/observed/modelled
Media sampled/studied/modelled


Regions studied

Data availability

Samples/specimens archived in specimen banks?

Methods & Procedures

Procedures and methodology used for, e.g., sampling and sample storage, sample pretreatment, extraction and analysis, including which laboratories are involved, references to methods employed, etc.

- Glacier mass balance (seasonal and annual) - Ice thickness, form and flow (as required to assess mass balance and calving fluxes) - Regional area-wise extent (decadal)

Additional Information

Is this a bi- AND multi-lateral project (i.e. a project involving cooperation between different countries)?
Is this project reporting to other organizations/programmes?

SECG guides and co-ordinates observations conducted by partners; SECG co-ordinates reporting for Canada (e.g., GCOS-GTN-G, WGMS) Networks: GCOS-GTN-Glacier (GCOS-GTN-Glacier), World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), WMO Global Cryosphere Watch (WMO Global Cryosphere Watch)

Indigenous AND traditional knowledge used in this project

some in development (Grise Fjord)

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