Several Norwegian glaciers may soon disappear

LUSTER.Nigardsbreen.Photo: Berit Roald / NTB scanpix

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The recent heat wave has led to a lot of melting from the country’s glaciers. Increasing temperatures can cause more glaciers to disappear altogether, according to researchers.

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“There has been a noticeable increase in melting from the glaciers in recent days,” says Atle Nesje, professor of geology at the University of Begen to NRK.

“We have experienced temperatures of more than 30 degrees, and it is clear that this leads to great melting on both the snow that is left on and of the glaciers themselves,” he says.

Liss Marie Andreassen is a glacial scientist in the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE). She thinks there is reason to be worried about the future of the glaciers, and says that much of the ice will disappear over the next 20 to 50 years.

“Glaciers are a climate indicator, and very sensitive to climate change. It can be an eye opener that shows how severe climate change is,” says Andreassen to NRK.

Last year’s summer with long periods of heat was even worse for the glaciers than this year’s, and follows a trend that began in Norway around the turn of the millennium. Since then, our glaciers have steadily receded.

Several large glaciers have become about half a kilometer shorter during this period. One of these is the Nigards Glacier – an extension of the Jostedals Glacier, the largest glacier on European mainland.

“If the development of glacial melting continues,” Nesje says that several smaller glaciers may completely disappear in just a few years.

The largest glaciers will remain for many years to come, but we can see that the glaciers are creeping upwards and becoming shorter.

He says a consequence of the glacial melt in the long term will be less melt water, as the glaciers will be smaller. This can have consequences for irrigation and agriculture. Some water reservoirs may also be in danger of disappearing completely. In addition, some hydropower plants rely on water from the glaciers.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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