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Measurements of winter balance (bw) and summer balance (bs) have been carried out at Storbreen since 1949. Here we apply a simple mass balance model to study the climate sensitivity and to reconstruct the mass balance series priorto 1949. The model is calibrated and validated with data from an automatic weather station (AWS) operating in the ablation zone of Storbreen since 2001. Regression analysis revealed that bw was best modelled using precipitation data southwest of the glacier. Results from the model compared well with reported mass balance values for the period 1949–2006, obtained correlations (r) for bw and bs varied between 0.83 and 0.87 depending on model set up. Reconstruction of the mass balance series for the period 1924/1925–1948/1949 suggested a cumulative mass deficit of c. 30 m w.e. mainly due to highly negative summer balances, but also lower bwthan the average for 1949–2006. Calculated change in specific mass balance for a ±1°C change in air temperature was ±0.55 m w.e., whereas a ±10 % increase in precipitation represented a change of ±0.20 m w.e. Model results further indicated that for a 2°C warming, the ablation season will be extended by c. 30 days and that the period of ice melt at the AWS location will increase from c. 40 to c. 80 days.
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Keywords: albedo; climate; glacier; mass balance; precipitation; temperature

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands

Publication date: 2009-12-01

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