Publisert 17.02.2016 , sist oppdatert 05.09.2023

Glacier monitoring

Massebalansemåling på Engabreen 14. oktober 2014
Mass balance stake measurements at Engabreen, 27th October 2014. Photo: Ragnar Ekker

Mass balance

The first mass balance measurements in mainland Norway began at Storbreen in spring 1949. Measurements on Nigardsbreen, Hellstugubreen and Gråsubreen began in 1962 and on Rembesdalskåka and Ålfotbreen in 1963, all of which are still part of today’s monitoring programme. Through legislation, glacier mass balance programmes have been included in the licensing terms for hydropower production in glacierized basins. In total, mass balance has been measured on 43 glaciers. Currently NVE measures 10 glaciers and one ice patch.  

Front variation observations

Measurements of glacier front variations have a long tradition in Norway. The first observations were obtained at Jostedalsbreen, Folgefonna, Okstindane, Svartisen, Skjomen and the Jotunheimen area about 1900. The size of the monitoring programme has varied according to levels of funding and dedication. A maximum of 43 glaciers was observed in 1938, and a minimum in 1992 when 7 glaciers were recorded. The observation programme was revitalized in 1995 in response to recent glacier advances. Today, measurements are carried out at 30-40 glaciers annually.

The mass balance and front variation results can be viewed and downloaded from NVE's glacier data portal .  Our mass balance and front variation data are reported to the international glacier database of World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), 

Glacier inventories
NVE has created several inventories of Norwegian Glaciers. The latest inventory were published in 2022 and used Sentinel-2 imagery for the period 2018-2019. This Inventory is included in the international GLIMS (Global Land Ice Measurements from Space) database.