Glacier inventories

In Italy, the Italian Glaciology Committee, in collaboration with the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, (the Italian National Research Council) published the Italian Glacier Inventory in the years between 1959 and 1962, and up-dated it in 1989. It is a fundamental document that clearly shows the situation of Italian glaciers and is complete with historical data and images of great importance. In many other countries where research about glaciology has ancient traditions dating as far back as the 19th century, similar detailed compilations regarding national glaciers exist (for example in Switzerland, Norway, Austria, the ex-USSR and Canada). From 1970 all these data flow into an international inventory, promoted by UNESCO and by the International Association of Scientific Hydrology, that has founded the World Glacier Monitoring Service, based in Zurich. The World Glacier Inventory is the most up-dated document regarding the world glacier situation.
Italian glaciers
The Italian Glaciers Registry identified 838 glaciers with a total surface of 540 km2 of which almost 100 km2 in the Ortles-Cevedale Massif, followed by the Adamello-Presanella group and the Mont Blanc Group. On the Apennines there is only one glacier which is becoming extinct, the Calderone Glacier, a small strip on the Gran Sasso d’Italia.
The glaciers with the largest extension in the Italian Alps are the Forni Glacier in the Ortles-Cevedale Massif, with a surface area of 13 km2 in 1989, which competes for the first position in Italy with the Adamello Glacier with a surface area of 18 km2,  which is however divided into various distinct flows. The Forni Glacier consists of three accumulation basins whose flows converge in a vast tongue that descends into the valley while the Adamello Glacier is on a plateau, a kind of small ice-sheet called Pian di Neve, from which numerous minor tongues and ice streams descend.

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From the Multimedia section

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    Exploring the ice

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    The cryosphere

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  • water

    Scheme of glacial cave systems

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    The Forni glacier

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  • air

    Icebergs, ice packs and glaciers

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    Ice shapes

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  • water

    Exploring the ice

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    The cryosphere

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  • water

    Scheme of glacial cave systems

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Facts