The Jostedal glacier has retracted 80 metres

Norwegian glaciers melting Jostedal warmer wintersMany Norwegian glaciers are melting rapidly. This is from the Birksdal glacier. Photo:

The Jostedal glacier has retracted 80 metres in summer

The Nigard arm of the Jostedal glacier has retracted 80 metres during the summer, which may make it more dangerous than before, says Professor Atle Nesje.


– Some of these glacier fingers are quite dangerous. When they melt and crack up, they become potentially even more dangerous to those who venture too close to them, Nesje tells NRK. He is a professor in glaciology at the University of Bergen, Norway.

– I was fearful of the figures we would reach in the autumn, but that it would be as much as 80 metres, was beyond my wildest expectations. That is both dramatic and surprising, Nesje exclaims.

The Nigard glacier is a part of the Jostedal glacier in Luster municipality in Sogn & Fjordane. Senior Engineer in the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE), Bjarne Kjøllmoen, says it’s not the hot summer that is the main reason for the retraction of the glacier front during the summer months.

– That it retracts this much, is concerning what has happened on top of the glacier during the last few decades. It is the result of many years of more melting than resupply of snow, he believes.

According to Kjøllmoen, the lower part of the glacier will be gone in four to five years if it retreats as much every year from now on. This year’s decline is the largest NVE has ever measured.

All glaciers in Norway melt

NVE conducts glacier measurements across Norway. Another glacier that has diminished a lot is the Langfjord jøkul in Finnmark. This has been measured by NVE since 1989.

– The ice there has decreased 2.3 metres across the glacier on average. It’s actually only one year before this that has shown a bigger loss, so this makes it the second biggest decline in 30 years, Kjøllmoen informs.

The NVE has not yet analysed all results, but the trend is clear.

– All glaciers that we measure will probably experience a deficit, that is, they will lose mass, he concludes.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today