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Climate sensitivity of glaciers in southern Norway: application of an energy-balance model to Nigardsbreen, Hellstugubreen and Alfotbreen

By J. Oerlemans


Three glaciers in southern Norway, with very different massbalance\ud characteristics, are studied with an energy-balance model of the ice/snow\ud surface. The model simulates the observed mass-balance profiles in a satisfactory\ud way, and can thus be used with some confidence in a study of climate sensitivity.\ud Calculated changes in equilibrium-line altitude for a 1 K temperature increase are\ud 110, 108 and 135 in for Nigardsbreen, Hellstugubreen and Alfotbreen, respectively.\ud The corresponding changes in mass balance, averaged over the entire glacier area,\ud are -0.88, -0.715 and -1.11 in year (water equivalent).\ud Runs with an ice-flow model for Nigardsbreen, to which calculated mass-balance\ud profiles are imposed, predict that the front will advance by 3 km for a 1 K cooling,\ud and will retreat by as much as 6.5 km for a 1 K warming. The response to a 10%\ud increase in precipitation would be a 2 km advance of the snout, whereas a 4 km\ud retreat is predicted for a 10% decrease. This large sensitivity (as compared to many\ud other glaciers) is to a large extent due to the geometry of Nigardsbreen

Topics: Natuur- en Sterrenkunde
Year: 1992
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