New measurements: Some Norwegian glaciers are getting bigger, but many are retreating

GlacierPhoto: Tore Meek / NTB
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An unusually snowy winter has ensured that many Norwegian glaciers have a larger mass than in 2019, but most have retreated.

The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) has made measurements of 30 glacier fronts, which make up 12% of the glacier area in Norway, the directorate noted in a press release.

The largest decline this year was in the Gråfjelsbreen glacier at Folgefonna and the Engabreen glacier at Svartisen, which retreated a full 47 and 46 meters compared with the previous year. 

A total of 23 out of 30 glacier fronts have retreated.

In addition, six of the glaciers that have been measured have had a mass surplus. 

Decrease in thickness

Mass balance measurement is based on the relationship between how much snow settles on the glacier during the winter and how much snow melts in the summer.

“The glaciers in Norway have the same development as the glaciers in the rest of the world. 

“The reason why the glacier fronts are retreating is that the mass balance has been negative for a long time. 

“The ten glaciers where we measure mass balance have decreased by an average of about 15 meters in thickness since the year 2000,” glaciologist Hallgeir Elvehøy at NVE explained.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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