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Surface energy balance in the ablation zone of Langfjordjøkelen, an arctic, maritime glacier in northern Norway

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Glaciers in northern and southern Norway are subject to different daily and seasonal cycles of incoming solar radiation, which is presumably reflected in the importance of net solar radiation in their surface energy balance. We present a 3 year continuous record from an automatic weather station in the ablation zone of the ice cap Langfjordjøkelen, one of the most northerly glaciers of mainland Norway. Despite its location at 70° N, Langfjordjøkelen was found to have a maritime climate, with an annual mean air temperature of –1.0°C, frequent cloud cover and end-of-winter snow depths over 3 m in all three years. The main melt season was May–October, but occasional melt events occurred on warm, cloudy winter days. Net solar and longwave radiation together accounted for 58% of the melt energy, with a positive contribution by net longwave radiation (7%). The sensible and latent heat fluxes supplied the remainder of the melt energy. Cloud optical thickness over Langfjordjøkelen was larger than on two glaciers in southern Norway, especially in the summer months. This resulted in a smaller contribution of net solar radiation to surface melt on Langfjordjøkelen; the effect of the higher latitude on net solar radiation was found to be small.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2014-02-01

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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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