Publisert 22.09.2020

New report – Glaciological investigations in Norway 2019

In a new report NVE presents results from measurements of Norwegian glaciers in 2019. The report describes measurements of glacier mass balance and glacier length changes. There is also information about measurement of glacier movement, jøkulhlaups and meteorological measurements at some glaciers, and the report describes measurements from the Svartisen Subglacial Observatory beneath Engabreen.

Juvfonne, a small ice patch in the Jotunheimen mountains photographed on 27th August 2019. Mass balance and area changes are measured since 2010. Photo: Liss M. Andreassen.

Mass balance

Mass balance investigations were performed on eleven glaciers in Norway in 2019 – two in northern Norway and nine in southern Norway. Six of the glaciers in southern Norway (Ålfotbreen, Nigardsbreen, Rembesdalskåka, Storbreen, Hellstugubreen and Gråsubreen) and one of the glaciers in northern Norway (Engabreen), have measurements back to 1970 or earlier. These seven glaciers with series longer than 30 years are classified as reference glaciers by World Glacier Monitoring Service.

The winter balance for all six reference glaciers in southern Norway was lower than the 1981-2010 average. In northern Norway, Engabreen had greater winter balance than the average. Gråsubreen had the lowest relative winter balance with 34 % of the reference period. Hellstugubreen had the lowest winter balance (0.6 m w.e.) since measurements started in 1962. The summer balance was higher than the 1981-2010 average for all the seven reference glaciers. Gråsubreen had the highest relative summer balance with 169 % of the reference period. Consequently, the annual balance was negative for all the six reference glaciers in southern Norway and of these, Ålfotbreen had the highest deficit with −2.4 m w.e. Of all the measured glaciers, Hansebreen had the highest deficit with −3.0 m w.e. Hellstugubreen and Gråsubreen had the third highest deficit since measurements started in 1962.

Glacier length change

Glacier length changes were measured at 26 glaciers in southern Norway and 10 glaciers in northern Norway. All of the 36 glaciers had a decrease in length. The largest retreats were observed at Gråfjellsbrea (82 m) and Nigardsbreen (81 m).


Bjarne Kjøllmoen (Ed.), Liss M. Andreassen, Hallgeir Elvehøy and Miriam Jackson, 2020: Glaciological investigations in Norway 2019, NVE Rapport 34-2020, 86 pp +app.

The report for 2019 and previous resports in the series can be down-loaded here.