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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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Tunsbergdalsbreen Project

Tunsbergdalsbreen Project is an international project with the aim of making young people aware of climate change and the way glaciers react to these changes.

Tunsbergdalsbreen Project

Tunsbergdalsbreen Project is an international project with the aim of making young people aware of climate change and the way glaciers react to these changes. It also wants to enable young people to make experiences and join activities nature in a beautiful glacial landscape as well as making them interested in natural science.

Below you can get a taste of an expedition! You can also learn a little bit about glaciation in a video developed by staff at Field Studies Council Blencathra, a previous partner in the Tunsbergdalsbreen Project. Brathay Exploration Group have been responsible for the implementation of the exhibitions.

Erosion in glacial environments results in some of the most familiar and characteristic forms and landforms.
— Benn & Evans, Glaciers and Glaciation, 1998

he changes of such a massive body of ice like Tunsbergdalsbreen can give us valuable information on climate change. On the annual expeditions the participants carry out a monitoring program worked out by the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) and the Norwegian Glacier Museum. Within the program, indicators for the glaciers behaviour are mapped: the elevation of the glacier surface, the ice velocity and the front position. The changes of these indicators can tell us something about how climate is changing in Norway.

Tunsbergdalsbreen Project is a cooperation of The Norwegian Glacier Museum in Fjærland and the UK charity organisation Brathay Exploration Trust.

Historical background

Between 1954 and 1964, the University of Cambridge carried out an extensive research program on Jostedalsbreen, all together 13 expeditions with a total of 184 participants. One of the participants was John Price, today a retired civil engineer, who in 1959 joined the expedition as a 20-year-old student of Nottingham University. The expeditions aim was to map the movements of Tunsbergdalsbreen, the largest outlet of Jostedalsbreen. Until 1972, the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) did annually front position measurements at Tunsbergdalsbreen. The data from these research works can give us an idea of what Tunsbergdalsbreen looked like at that time.

Photo: John Price 1959 (second row, second from left).

Photo: John Price 1959 (second row, second from left).

Today, John Price is very concerned about climate change and about getting young people interested in this topic. Since glaciers react on changes in climate, they can be used as indicators to make these changes visible. John Price contacted the Norwegian Glacier Museum and proposed to continue the monitoring of the glacier done 50 years ago. The idea of Tunsbergalsbreen Project was born: to monitor the glacier on an annual basis in order to map its reactions on the changes in climate we experience today, and to try to relate this new data to the measurements carried out in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Below you can learn more about the expedition in 1959. View the slide-show (English only), as displayed in a photo exhibition in the Norwegian Glacier Museum.

Tunsbergdalsbreen Glacier

Aerial 3D image of Tunsbergdalsbreen (in the centre of the image) and the surrounding area. The glacier drains from Jostedalsbreen Ice Cap. Credits: www.norgei3d.no.

Aerial 3D image of Tunsbergdalsbreen (in the centre of the image) and the surrounding area. The glacier drains from Jostedalsbreen Ice Cap. Credits: www.norgei3d.no.

The glacier Tunsbergdalsbreen in the municipality of Luster (Sogn og Fjordane county) is 18 km long and 1-2 km wide and hence the largest outlet of the Jostedalsbreen ice cap, Jostedalsbreen being the largest glacier on the European continent. At the same time Tunsbergdalsbreen is one of the most remote glaciers of the area.

The panorama view of Tunsbergdalsbreen seen from Røykjedalsbandet Ridge. Photo: Morgan Gibson 2011.

The panorama view of Tunsbergdalsbreen seen from Røykjedalsbandet Ridge. Photo: Morgan Gibson 2011.

The central parts of Tunsbergdalsbreen are located between 900 and 1200 m a.s.l. . This mid section has got a reletiveley smooth surface, is about 6 km long and several hundret metres thick. The gradient is about 1:20. In this mid section, as displayed in the panoramic photo above, the glacier is over 500 metres thick.

 

During the expedition in 2012, staff from the Glacier Museum made a day trip to the glacier to visit the expedition members. While crossing the Tunsbergdalsvatnet Lake by boat, several photos were taken. When comparing new shots with old photos from the early 1900s we discovered interesting visual evidences of the glacier retreat. See the photos below for comparison of 1903 and 2012. In this period of time the glacier retreated 2 kilometres. Just since 1989, based on examination of Tunsbergdalsbreen in Landsat imagery by Mauri S. Pelto, the glacier retreat has been roughly 700 metres.

1903. Photo: John Bernhard Rekstad/NGU.                                                                                                2012. Photo: Pål Gran Kielland.

1903. Photo: John Bernhard Rekstad/NGU.                                                                                                2012. Photo: Pål Gran Kielland.

Glaciers and climate

Climate reflects glacial extension in different areas, and changes in glacial extension tells us something about changes in climate. Since the presence of glaciers is mainly controlled by winter snow and summer temperatures, a glacier will reflect changes in these climatic parameters. Large amounts of snow and low temperatures during the winter favours glacier growth, while low amounts of snow and/or high summer temperatures causes glacier retreat.

Last year’s snow makes a glacier...
— Norwegian Glacier Museum

Today, both changes in front positions and mass balance is measured at several glaciers in Norway and in the rest of the world. Growth or retreat is a reaction to a positive or negative mass balance. But, due to different reaction time, there may be a delay of several years between a measured positive mass balance and glacier growth. Short and steep outlet glaciers, like Briksdalsbreen or Bøyabreen, reacts relatively fast. Long, large and gentle sloping glaciers, like Tunsbergdalsbreen and Nigardsbreen, has slower reactions to changes in climatic conditions.

There are several methods to calculate pre-historic glacial fluctuations. Valuable information can be detected about previous climates, from dating of moraines and analyses on glacial sediments in lakes and fjords. By the drilling of ice cores, samples from air bubbles can be investigated to discover how the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, like carbon dioxide and methane, has changed through time. These air bubbles were trapped between ice crystals the last time when snow/ice was in contact with the atmosphere. Several years of snow accumulation transforms snow into ice, through repeated compression and thawing - and freezing processes, creating a glacier.

By looking at the composition of the oxygen isotope in water molecules, ice cores can be studied. The isotopic composition of the precipitation reflects temperature at the time when the snow fell. Thus, temperature changes through time can be interpreted. Ages on the analysed air samples can be determined also by counting snow/ice year layers on the large ice sheets. Dark layers represent summer precipitation while light layers represent winter precipitation. These year layers may also give information on precipitation changes.

Ice core drilling is best suited in areas with continuous snow accumulation and low rates of melting. It is favourable in cold areas with none or minimal ice movement, like the central areas of an ice cap. The most important places for reconstructing temperature, precipitation and air composition back in time, are the large ice covers on Greenland and Antarctica. From these ice covers, over 3000 metres long ice cores has been collected. The longest time data series comes from Antarctica due to the lower amounts of precipitation. Researchers has managed to interpret climate over 120 000 years back in time from the Greenland ice cores, while ice cores from Antarctica, makes it possible to tell something about the climate over 800 000 years ago. According to Lüthi and others (2008), the ice core analysis from Antarctica indicates that the atmospheric carbon dioxide content at present is 30% higher than ever before the last 800 000 years.

The glaciers get much attention regarding climate change since they are one of our best climatic archives, and therefore important in knowledge about climate. They are also important as water reservoirs. Approximately 70% of all fresh water on earth is icebound and the glaciers act as stable water supplies to many human beings. According to the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (2004) the glaciers in Norway exists in areas with great hydropower potential. Roughly 15% of already exploited water discharge comes from rivers fed with glacial meltwater. Tunsbergdalsbreen is an example of a glacier that feeds large amounts of meltwater into a power station reservoir.

 

Expeditions

Between 2008 and 2013, the project has carried out annual expeditions to the lower part of Tunsbergdalsbreen in order to collect data about the glacier. In some of the years, there has also been expeditions of shorter duration to the central part of the glacier. In the years 2014-2016 the project has been working on a re-organising of the project and survey program, so no data has been collected.

 

2017

No main nor exploring glaciers expeditions this year due re-organising of the project.

 

2016

No main nor exploring glaciers expeditions this year due re-organising of the project.

 

2015

No main nor exploring glaciers expeditions this year due to problems with logistics (transport from/to UK).

Nottingham Base Camp Clean-Up 4th-16 of September (12 participants)
Organised by: University of Nottingham Mountaineering Club / John Price & Derek Daniels

 

2014

No main expedition this year.

Exploring Glaciers Expedition (NEW) 9th-24th of August (9 participants)
Organised by: Brathay Exploration Group
Leader: Scott Troughton
Assistants: Heather Bowie & Harry Shuell

 

Nottingham Base Camp Locate Expedition 5th-15 of September (3 participants)
Organised by: University of Nottingham Mountaineering Club

 

2013

Expedition 5th-25th of August (12 participants)
Organised by: Brathay Exploration Group
Leader: Kary Boreham
Tecnical leader: Dan Phillips

 

2012

Expedition 10th-24th of August (12 participants)
Organised by: Brathay Exploration Group
Leader: Morgan Gibson
Tecnical leader: Jamie Pattison

 

Nottingham Base Camp Locate Expedition 6th-8 of July (4 participants)
Organised by: Norsk Bremuseum

 

2011

Expedition 8th-22th of August (9 participants)
Organised by: Brathay Exploration Group
Leader: Morgan Gibson
Tecnical leader: Fergus Andrews

Expedition to the central part of the glacier in July
Organised by: Norsk Bremuseum
Leader: Kjersti Moe

 

2010

Expedition 15th-29th of August (10 participants)
Organised by: Brathay Exploration Group
Leader: Kjersti Moe
Organisation: Gillian Campbell

Expedition to the central part of the glacier (3 days)
Organised by: Norsk Bremuseum
Leader: Trygve Snøtun

 

2009

Expedition 10th-30th of August (19 participants)
Organised by: Brathay Exploration Group
Leader: Anna Griffith
Assistent: Emma Metcalfe
Tecnical leader: Steve Glew

 

2008

Several short expeditions to the central part of the glacier with a small team
Organised by: Norsk Bremuseum
Leader: Trygve Snøtun

 

Results

Results from the expeditions 2008-2011 can be seen in the Norwegian Glacier Museum in Fjærland and at the FSC-centre in Blencathra, UK.

Posters
- Poster presented at the RGS Explore Conference 2011 in London.
- Poster presented at the Bjerknes 10 Years Anniversary Conference "Climate Change in high latitudes" in Bergen 2012.

 

Project partners

Tunsbergdalsbreen Project is a cooperation of The Norwegian Glacier Museum in Fjærland and the UK charity organisation Brathay Exploration Trust.


SPONSORS
Several organisations and companies that kindly have contributed to the funding of the project:

OTHER CONTRIBUTORS
The project also has included involvement of institutions and organisations who has provided valuable help in scientific advicing, glacier measurements, outreach, planning and adaptation:

The project in the media

2016

- Article in the University of Nottingham Alumni: "Nottingham and the glacier – the sequel" February 2016
- Article in the University of Nottingham Alumni: "There and back again" October 2016


2015

- Article in the University of Nottingham Alumni: "Nottingham and the glacier – an adventure 50 years in the making" June 2015

 

2013

- About the Tunsbergdalsbreen project results in Geography Review (February 2013)

 

2012

- About Tunsbergdalsbreen Project in Geographical Magazine October 2012
- Tunsbergdalsbreen Project in FSC Magazine
- Article in Keswick Reminder about Tunsbergdalsbreen at EXPLORE i London 16th-18th of November 2012
- About Tunsbergdalsbreen retreat in the "From a Glaciers Perspective Blog", by professor of environmental science Mauri Pelto.
- Article in Sogn Avis about the project's participation in the conference CLIMATE CHANGE IN HIGH LATITUDES in Bergen (in Norwegian language)
- Article in Sogn Avis about John's and Derek's approach summer 2012 to find the location of the Nottingham Basecamp from 1959 (in Norwegian language)

 

2011

- Article in Sogn Avis about the project at the RGS EXPLORE 2011 (in Norwegian language)
- Article in Sogn Avis about the 2011 expedition (in Norwegian language)

 

- 2010

- Article in Sogn Avis about the 2010 expedition (in Norwegian language)
- Article in Field studies Council Magazine Autumn 2010

 

2009

- BBC Cornwall: Glacier Adventure
- BBC interview with Martin Holland about 2009 expedition
- The expedition member Blog 2009
- Article in Sogn Avis about logo competition (in Norwegian language)
- Article in Sogn Avis about the winning logo (in Norwegian language)
- Article in Sogn Avis about the 2009 expedition (in Norwegian language)
- Article in Field studies Council Magazine 2009

 

2008

- Article in Sogn Avis about the front position messurements at Tunsbergdalsbreen (in Norwegian language)
- Article in Sogn Avis about the project's kick-off (in Norwegian language)

 

2006

- Article in Sogn Avis about John Price and his story connected to Tunsbergdalsbreen (in Norwegian language)

 

 

Contact

 

NORWAY

Norwegian Glacier Museum & Ulltveit-Moe Climate Centre
NO-6848 Fjærland
Norway
Web: www.bre.museum.no

 

UNITED KINGDOM

The Brathay Exploration Trust
Brathay Hall
Ambleside
Cumbria
LA22 0HP
England

Web: www.brathayexploration.org.uk

 

 

News Archive

October 6, 2016

The story of Nottingham base camp

The University of Nottingham has an impressive historical connection to Tunsbergdalsbreen Glacier. Why is that so?

Well, to find out you have to check out this article in the University of Nottingham Alumni. Story short; the expeditions in the 1950s left a whole lot of garbage next to Tunsbergdalsbreen Glacier. At that time, what we today call garbage, was actually expedition equipment. The plan was to come back year after year to survey the glacier. But, when funding stopped, the expeditions stopped. For over 50 years the equipment was lost, untill John Price (a former member of the expedition in 1959) went back to clean the almost forgotten base camp. To help him he was joined by former expedition member, Derek Daniels, and 12 members of University of Nottingham's Mountaineering Club.

 

Also, see this article as a prelude to the mission they accomplished.

 

August 4, 2015

Garbage removal mission in Jostedalsbreen National Park

In September this fall, a group of British students are coming to the remote areas close to Tunsbergdalsbreen Glacier to clean garbage in Jostedalsbreen National Park.

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Back in the late 1950s, expedition equipment was left off by British explorers on a mountain ridge (to the right in the picture) just next to Tunsbergdalsbreen Glacier. This is almost 60 years ago and a brave group of students in Nottingham, as represented by the University of Nottingham Mountaineering Club, are going to clean up what now is defined as garbage. Or in a young mountaineering explorers' eyes; treasures of explorers from the past!

The mission of garbage removal is taking place in September this fall and is a cooperative initiative, as ignited by John Price (a former expedition member from 1959), between the Tunsbergdalsbreen Project (Norsk Bremuseum & Brathay Exploration Trust), Jostedalsbreen National Park and the National Park Ranger, and the University of Nottingham Mountaineering Club. A group of 12 students will explore the mountains and glaciers for a week or so, and in between they will locate the old Nottingham Camp, collect the garbage and fill heli-bags to be collected by a helicopter. The garbage will then be transported to a landfill for waste treatment.

Check out pictures from the 2014 expedition to locate the 1950's camp.

June 9, 2015

No expeditions in 2015

We are sad to announce that there will be no expeditions in 2015. We are working on solutions for logistics and getting a long term adcademic institutional partner.

January 19, 2015

Tunsbergdalsbreen glacier retreat

In this post we are presenting some findings about the retreat of Tunsbergdalsbreen glacier.

An examination of Tunsbergdalsbreen in Landsat imagery reveals glacier retreat from 1989 to 2014. These findings are available in the "From a glaciers perspective" blog, by Mauri S. Pelto who is a professor of environmental science at Nichols College in Dudley, Massachusetts and director of the North Cascades Glacier Climate Project.

The post about Tunsbergdalsbreen was originally published in February 2012. After an email exchange of information between The Norwegian Glacier Museum and professor Pelto, the post was updated with a Landsat imagery from 2014 and photos of the glacier terminus from 2013.

Figure 1. Tunsbergdalsbreen 1989. Credit: Mauri S. Pelto.

Figure 1. Tunsbergdalsbreen 1989. Credit: Mauri S. Pelto.

The important findings from this examination are clear evidences on negative length changes and a thinning of the glacier, which indicates a negative mass balance. 

In the Landsat image from 2014 you clearly see a proglacial lake at the terminus that didn't exist in 1989. From 1989 to 2014 this lake grew 700 metres long, see the purple arrows.

Figure 2. Tunsbergdalsbreen 2014. Credit: Mauri S. Pelto.

Figure 2. Tunsbergdalsbreen 2014. Credit: Mauri S. Pelto.

Exposure of bedrock is also evident over the time period, which is a result of an ongoing thinning of the ice, as indicated by the green arrows. An increasing snowline (which indicate the equillibrium line) is a concern for sustaining the glacier.

We thank professor Pelto for kindly giving us permisson to publish these findings on our website. Check out his blog, "From a glaciers perspective" for more detailed information and interesting reading about other glaciers from around the world.

The retreat of Tunsbergdalsbreen, as common with most glaciers world wide, is a long term trend. This is known through several previous investigations of the glacier. By compiling earlier works and maps of Tunsbergdalsbreen, students connected to the Tunsbergdalsbreen Project has produced maps of the glacier extent at different stages.

The map in figure 3 shows glacier extent from 1743 to 1995. The curved lines represent former terminal morraines. Note that the extent goes into a lake. This is a dammed reservoir for hydro power built in 1978.

Figure 3. Tunsbergdalsbreen 1743 - 1995. Credit: Matthias Trepesch 2009.

Figure 3. Tunsbergdalsbreen 1743 - 1995. Credit: Matthias Trepesch 2009.

In figure 4 you see a detailed map of Tunsbergdalsbreens extent and geomorphology in the glacier foreland from 1908 to 2010. 

Figure 4. Geomorphological map of Tunsbergdalsbreen. Credit: Al Smith 2011.

Figure 4. Geomorphological map of Tunsbergdalsbreen. Credit: Al Smith 2011.

 

These maps are just a few examples of what young and clever participants in Tunsbergdalsbreen Project has produced over the years. Many of the expedition members have been students at bachelor level, using data from field work in their own dissertations.