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The Tarfala Mass Balance Programme

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The Tarfala mass balance programme currently comprises seven glaciers distributed in two, one southerly and one northerly, east-west trending profiles. Of the studied glaciers, Storglaci√§ren has the longest record spanning 1945 to present. The purpose of the programme is to study gradients in mass balance parameters across the northern Scandinavian mountains. The measurements of both winter and summer balance are carried out with significant redundancy each year. In order to maintain such a large programme with limited personnel, different measurement techniques and strategies are applied to the different glaciers according to a priority scale. Storglaci√§ren is the most important glacier in the network and is measured with high accuracy and measurement density. Storglaciren is also used as a reference for all other glaciers in the programme. The other glaciers have sparser measurement systems and are sometimes measured using alternative methods such as snow radar. In general, Swedish glaciers are still responding to the major climatic warming around 1910–1920 by retreat, and the effect of very long response times. However, measured volume change indicates that most glaciers are close to or varying around a quasi-steady state.

Keywords: ablation stakes; drilling holes in ice; ice drill; steam drill

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden,

Publication date: 1999-12-01

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