Glacier Mass Balance Studies in Brøggerbreen, Svalbard Region

Introduction Glaciers are instruments in moderating, modifying and modulating the weather and climate. The winter inputs and summer losses of mass from ice sheets, ice caps, and glaciers covering more than 2 million km2 of the Polar north vary in response to climate changes and affect global sea level as increments of water are released to the oceans or stored in solid form. This area includes the 1.8 million km2 of ice on Greenland, together with the glaciers and ice caps that cover about 275,000 km2 in the extensively glacierised archipelagos of the high Arctic within continental North America, Europe, and Iceland (Dowdeswell, 1995). Among them the Svalbard archipelago includes islands between lat 74° N. to 81° N and long 10° E. to 35° E (Figure 1a.). The main area consists of Spitsbergen, by far the largest island at 39,000 km2, followed by Nordaustlandet with 15,200 km2, Edgeøya at 5,000 km2, Barentsøya with 1,300 km2, and a number of smaller islands (Olav Liestol,1990). The total area of the islands is 62,248 km2, and, of this total, about 59 per cent is covered by more than 2,100 glaciers (Table 1). It is the northernmost landmass in the European Arctic that has a variety of small and medium sized glaciers. The total ice volume is 11,000 km3 (Hagen et al., 1990, 1993, 2003). The observed global sea...

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