0102030405060Glacier ice volumes in New ZealandYear ended March 1980–2016, cubic kilometresProvider: Ministry for the Environment1980198419881992199620002004200820122016

Glacier ice volumes in New Zealand

Year ended March 1980–2016, cubic kilometres


A glacier is a body of slow-moving ice, at least 1 hectare in area that has persisted for two decades or longer. New Zealand has 3,144 glaciers. Most are located along the Southern Alps on the South Island, although Mount Ruapehu on the North Island supports 18 glaciers.

Data calculation/treatment

The annual total glacier ice volume is reported in water equivalents, using the units km3. A value of 0.9 was used to convert an ice volume to a water equivalent volume.

For more information

Changes to data collection/processing

This report differs from earlier reports. The provider used a longer and more recent set of measured mass balance gradient data from the Brewster Glacier rather than data from 1965 to 1975 from the Ivory and Tasman glaciers. Because of this, ice volume estimates will differ between this and earlier reports.

Data provided by

Ministry for the Environment

Dataset name

Environmental Reporting: Annual glacier ice volumes 2016



How to find the data

At URL provided, select 'Download' from the top right of the screen. You will have to register to download this dataset.

Import & extraction details

File as imported: Environmental Reporting: Annual glacier ice volumes 2016

From the dataset Environmental Reporting: Annual glacier ice volumes 2016, this data was extracted:

  • Rows: 2-41
  • Column: 2
  • Provided: 40 data points

This data forms the table Environment - Annual glacier ice volumes 1977–2016.

Dataset originally released on:

October 19, 2017

Purpose of collection

Glacier volume is strongly influenced by climate factors, such as temperature and precipitation. Changes in glacier ice volumes give some indication of changing climate conditions in New Zealand.
This dataset relates to the "Annual glacier ice volumes" measure on the Environmental Indicators, Te taiao Aotearoa website.

Method of collection/Data provider

This data was collected by NIWA. Glacier ice volumes originate from the 1978 New Zealand Glacier Inventory and the annual New Zealand glacier snowline survey programme which commenced in 1977. These use the end of summer snowline of 50 index glaciers for determining the annual mass balance of glacier ice, and geodetic survey information for 12 large low-angle debris-covered glaciers.