Welcome to the Snow and Ice Research Group – New Zealand








End of Summer Snowline


IGS_logoSIRG operates as the New Zealand branch of the International Glaciological Society.


The Snow and Ice Research Group, New Zealand (SIRG-NZ) is an informal association of people interested in snow and ice research.

To participate in the group simply register with the SIRG email list.

SIRG Workshop 2013

The SIRG 2013 workshop was held in Dunedin on
11th – 13th February 2013.

An electronic copy of the final proceedings can be found here.

Please email sirg2013@gmail.com for any questions regarding the conference.

Next Web Talk: 5th June

Brian Anderson, Victoria University of Wellington

Glacier Change in the Southern Alps, 1880-2100

Glaciers in the Southern Alps last reached a maximum stand in the late 1800s. Since that time, many of the larger glaciers have lost kilometers of length, and hundreds of metres of ice thickness. This ice loss has been the result of warming estimated between 0.7 and 1 K. To assess the overall ice volume loss since the late 1800s, and estimate future glacier volume loss given various climate change scenarios, we use a coupled mass-balance/ice flow model. To start, an equilibrium state at the late 1800s position is generated by imposing a cooling of 0.8 K from the 1980-2010 mean temperature. Historic maps and geomorphic evidence are used to tune the uncertain precipitation distribution to achieve a good match between observed and modelled extent. Due to the present-day glacier imbalance, a 'dynamic calibration', is carried out where the temperature forcing is progressively warmed from late-1800s to present-day values. During the 100 years between the '1990s' (1980-2000) and the '2090s' (2080-2100) the warming in the central Southern Alps, based on the A1B, A2 and A1FI emissions scenarios and a downscaled 12-model GCM ensemble average, is estimated to be between 2.0 and 2.8 K, with a concurrent increase in precipitation of 10-15%. These future warming scenarios are then imposed upon the model glaciers. Preliminary results show that, in the central part of the Southern Alps, ice volume decreased from 53 km3 in the late 1800s to 40 km3 by 1980. Projected warming and precipitation increases result in a modelled ice volume of between 16 km3 (A1FI) and 20 km3 (A1B) by 2100.

The locations of the video conference rooms for each campus are:

Auckland: Room 429, Level 4, Human Science Building, University of Auckland, 10 Symonds St., Auckland

Canterbury: Room 164, Level 1, Geography-Psychology Building, Canterbury University, Christchurch

Massey: Room 4.40, Social Sciences Tower, Massey University, Palmerston North

Otago: Teaching Facilities South West corner, Information Services Building

Victoria: Library RB106

Details of Previous Web Talks




Latest News

July 2012 – Dr Trevor Chinn shows NZ glaciers are 15% smaller than 32 years ago

July 2012 – Franz Josef's retreat "remarkable" according to Dr Brian Anderson

February 2012 – “SIRG 2012” was held in Twizel from the 13th to 15th.
A copy of the programme and abstracts is available here..

March 2012 – Dan Price makes the news with his investigations into sea ice thickness in Antarctica

2nd February 2012 – Iconic Glaciers” –
Interview with Brian Anderson and Andrew Macintosh about the Franz Josef Glacier on Radio New Zealand's "Our Changing World" program.

Older News