Publisert 12.10.2022

New report – Glaciological investigations in Norway 2021

In a new report NVE presents results from measurements of Norwegian glaciers in 2021. 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. The last chapter of the report deals with historic photo documentation of glaciers over the period 1949-1979.

The glacier snout of Steindalsbreen in Lyngen photographed on 30th August 2021. Photo: David Skirnisson/NVE.

Mass balance
Mass balance investigations were performed on eleven glaciers in Norway in 2021 – 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 five of seven reference glaciers was lower than the 1991-2020 average. Hellstugubreen in Jotunheimen and Engabreen in northern Norway had greater winter balance with 105 % and 106 % of the reference period. Rembesdalskåka had the lowest relative winter balance with 84 % of the reference period. The summer balance was higher than the 1991-2020 average for all the seven reference glaciers. The three glaciers in Jotunheimen had the highest relative summer balances with 161 % (Gråsubreen), 151 % (Storbreen) and 140 % (Hellstugubreen) of the reference period. Consequently, the annual balance was negative for all the seven reference glaciers and of these, Ålfotbreen and Storbreen had the highest deficit, both with −1.7 m w.e. Of all the measured glaciers, Hansebreen had the highest deficit with −2.3 m w.e.

Glacier length change
Glacier length changes were measured at 26 glaciers in southern Norway and 10 glaciers in northern Norway. Thirty four of the 36 measured glacier outlets had a decrease in length. The largest retreats were observed at Austerdalsbreen at the southern side of Jostedalsbreen (130 m), at Gråfjellsbrea on southern Folfefonna (66 m) and at Austre Okstindbreen in Nordland (59 m).

Bjarne Kjøllmoen (Ed.), Liss M. Andreassen, Hallgeir Elvehøy and Stig Storheil, 2022. Glaciological investigations in Norway, NVE Rapport 27-2022, 78 pp +app.

The 2021-report can be down-loaded here.