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The impact of climate change on future frontal variations of Briksdalsbreen, western Norway

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A flowline model, coupled with a surface mass-balance model forced by climate data from Bergen, was used to simulate future frontal changes of Briksdalsbreen, a western outlet glacier from Jostedalsbreen, western Norway, under various future climate scenarios. The model was used to calculate the time-lag of frontal response to a sudden and short change in the mass balance. According to the model, the front has a time-lag for maximum advance rate of 4–5 years, in close agreement with previous studies. The response time for Briksdalsbreen was calculated by running the model for 200 years with different mass-balance perturbations. For mass-balance perturbations of +0.3 and +0.6 m w.e. the model yields response times of 52 and 60 years, respectively. We ran the model from 1963 to 2007 with measured mass-balance data, and from 2007 to 2085 using calculated mass balances from 12 different climate scenarios. The model predicts retreat up the steep valley from the lake inlet, with a total frontal retreat of 2.5–5.0 km by 2085. A spectacular icefall, one of the main tourist attractions in western Norway, may thus disappear and the glacier may become a plateau glacier that will gradually melt down.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2009

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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