The GLACIOCLIM SurfAce Mass Balance of Antarctica Observatory (SAMBA)

Please keep us informed of your uses of the GLACIOCLIM-SAMBA data. This is important for the long-term survival of the observatory.

(last update : 10.07.2016 - data DC)


The GLACIOCLIM SurfAce Mass Balance of Antarctica (GLACIOCLIM-SAMBA) observatory is part of the GLACIOCLIM Glaciers Observatory, a French observation system to monitor the surface mass balance of various glaciers in the world and understand how it relates to climate variability and change.

The GLACIOCLIM initiative is coordinated by Christian Vincent (CNRS) and Patrick Wagnon (IRD), both at Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l'Environnement (LGGE) in Grenoble, France. The Antarctic component of the observatory (SAMBA), the subject of this web, site, is managed Vincent Favier (UJF, contact: and Christophe Genthon (CNRS, contact:, also at LGGE. LGGE is a CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), UJF (Université Joseph-Fourrier, Grenoble) laboratory, with an IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement) component. LGGE is part of OSUG, Grenoble's Sciences of the Universe Observatory. Field campaigns and sensors of GLACIOCLIM-SAMBA component are founded by the French Polar Institute (IPEV), Institut National des Sciences de l'Univers (INSU), CNRS and UJF.

At present, the GLACIOCLIM Observatory monitors 5 glaciers in the french Alps, 2 glaciers in the Andes, and some of Antarctica in Terre Adelie and Wilkes Land. Thus, GLACIOCLIM deals with glaciers in tropical, temperate and polar regions. The network is expected to further expand in the future, i.e. in the Himalayan region. Detailed information on the tropical and temperate activities of GLACIOCLIM are available at

Monitoring is carried out with similar methods on all glaciers:

Various kinds of stakes, set up, and other GLACIOCLIM field activities in Antarctica can be seen at the photo gallery

The surface mass balance equation may be written:

B = P - S - M + O


Research programs for mass balance data analysis, local snow and ice mass and energy balance modeling, glacier flow modeling, and large scale climate modeling, in particular, will benefit from the data provided by GLACIOCLIM. This is the case, for instance, of the french Climate Change and Cryosphere (C3) program, supported by the french ministry of sciences and INSU (INSU), the French LEFE/EVE-IDAO program CHARMANT, and the European FP7 program ICE2SEA.

Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l'Environnement (LGGE)
54 Rue Molière - BP 96
38 402 Saint Martin d'Hères Cedex - FRANCE
Tel.: +33 (0) 4 76 82 42 00 - Fax.: +33 (0) 4 76 82 42 01
web site design and content: V. Favier