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The Norwegian Glacier Museum offers entertainment and education for the whole family. The Norwegian Glacier Museum is a official visitor centre of the Jostedalsbreen National Park.

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High glacier melt in 2014

Pål Gran Kielland

The Norwegian Glacier Museum has done the annual front position measurements on four glaciers. 2014 turns out to be a bad year.

For many years, we have measured front position changes on glaciers in Fjærland. The first glacier measurement series started on Supphellebreen Glacier in 1992, while we added Bøyabreen Glacier in 2003. These glacier has been retreating over the years, so we started measuring two additional glaciers; Supphellebreen Glacier in 2011 and Haugabreen Glacier (in Jølster) last year.

Haugabreen Glacier October 2014. Photo: Pål Gran Kielland.

Haugabreen Glacier October 2014. Photo: Pål Gran Kielland.

The results from the measurements show the same melting trend:

Supphellebreen Glacier            -18 metres

Bøyabreen Glacier                    -65 metres

Vetle Supphellebreen Glacier  -31 metres

Haugabreen Glacier                  -13 metres

While the measurements of Vetle Supphellebreen Glacier and Haugabreen Glacier are done directly on active outlet glaciers, the measurements on Supphellebreen Glacier and Bøyabreen Glacier are done on so-called regenerated glaciers. These are glaciers which forms by ice and snow avalanches from the glacier and mountain above. They can change from year to year based on where the avalanches accumulates. In 2014 there is observed low avalanche activity, meaning less ice and snow masses added to the regenerated glaciers. Also, the melting season has been warmer than normal and they are situated at low elevations. Bøyabreen Glacier at 150 m.a.s.l. and Supphellebreen Glacier at 60 m.a.s.l. The result is glacier retreat, especially Bøyabreen Glacier with 65 metres while Supphellebreen Glacier retreated 18 metres.

Bøyabreen Glacier October 2014. Photo: Pål Gran Kielland.

Bøyabreen Glacier October 2014. Photo: Pål Gran Kielland.

The fronts of Haugabreen Glacier and Vetle Supphellebreen Glacier are situated at higher elevations than the regenerated glaciers and, hence, should stand the summer season melting better. Haugabreen Glacier (900 m.a.s.l.) retreated 13 metres, while Vetle Supphellebreen Glacier (750 m.a.s.l.) retreated 31 metres. These numbers tell us that the warm summer has been hard on the ice, also at higher elevations. This has been observed several places, for example in the area above where the ice fall starts on Bøyabreen (1200 m.a.s.l), where old blue ice is appearing from melting at 15-1600 m.a.s.l.

Bøyabreen Glacier ice fall September 2014. Photo: Pål Gran Kielland.

Bøyabreen Glacier ice fall September 2014. Photo: Pål Gran Kielland.

These glacier measurements are done on behalf of NVE (Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate).