Of the 36 glaciers in Norway, 34 retreated in 2021. It shows Overview of the NVE On glacier measurements they made this year.
– In recent years, all the glaciers we follow have receded, says the glacier expert at NVE Holger Elwehoy.
How far the glaciers have receded varies, but for some the numbers are quite dramatic:
- The Astardelspreen glacier in Sogn og Fjordane has gone 130 meters backwards this year. It has dropped by 544 meters in the last 20 years.
- The Gråfjellsbrea in Hordaland went 66m backwards this year. 979 meters has decreased in the last 20 years.
- The Nigardsbreen glacier in Sogn og Fjordane went 39 meters backwards this year. It has dropped by 618 meters in the last 20 years.
- Leerbrian in Jordanheim went 23 meters backwards this year. It has dropped by 294 meters in the last 20 years.
NVE’s glacier researcher Liz Andreassen explains that Astardolspreen and Krafzelspria have very reduced special conditions.
The lower part of the two glaciers is in the water. In both places, parts of the long glacial tongue lying in the water are broken.
– So, one year can be one big number and another small number. But overall, he says, it’s great.
As Andreassen points out, there are large numbers over time. Gråfjellsbrea has retreated almost a kilometer in the last 20 years.
469 meters in 20 years
On average, the measured glaciers have retreated 26 meters this year.
– There is no record this year like there was two years ago. But it’s become less and less common year after year, and it’s happening again this year, says Liz Andreassen.
Over the past 20 years, 24 glaciers, which have been continuously measured, have seen an average slope of 469 meters. It is about half a kilometer on average.
Decline despite heavy snowfall
The NVE measures the mass balance of ten glaciers, as well as the degree to which they recede.
The mass balance of a glacier is the ratio of how much snow settles on the glacier in summer and how much snow and ice melts in the summer.
This year there was less snow than normal in southern Norway, while the winter in Norland was more snow than usual.
– Glacier melting was higher than normal throughout the summer in southern Norway and the Norland. So, there was a shortage of all glaciers, and in the Norland, Andreassen says.
Ten out of ten glaciers will be smaller by 2021 overall. This trend has continued over the last 20 years.
The ten glaciers that measure the NVE mass balance have shrunk from 2001 to a thickness of 30 meters.
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