Twentieth-Century Glacier Change at Svartisen, Norway: The Influence of Climate, Glacier Geometry and Glacier Dynamics

Wilfred H. Theakstone
1990 Annals of Glaciology  
In the 1870s and 1880s, after a long period of cold conditions, most of the glaciers of Svartisen ended near their maximum Neoglacial limit. Subsequent changes, although principally a response to the climatic controls of mass balance, have been influenced by glacier geometry, including area/altitude relations and aspect, and by glacier dynamics. Calving has played a principal role in the decrease of size of two of the larger glaciers, Austerdalsisen and Flatisen, both of which became unstable
more » ... h became unstable once the grounded distal sections of their tongues lost contact with their beds. Mass balance variations reflect climatic controls of the length of the accumulation and ablation seasons, as well as changes of summer temperature. The mass balance record of Engabreen, a maritime outlet of the Vestre Svartisen ice cap, monitored since 1970 by the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Administration, is not representative of the area as a whole: the more continental glaciers of Østre Svartisen are likely to experience negative net balances when that of Engabreen is slightly or moderately positive. However, the pattern of year-to-year changes of net balance is similar, not only for the Svartisen area as a whole, but also for a larger area.
doi:10.3189/s0260305500008764 fatcat:pqawsqpvwvevjomd3z4cxcjhcy