Glacier Mass Balance Studies in Brøggerbreen, Svalbard Region


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Most of the glaciers in Svalbard are of the surge type and so the front position of a single glacier cannot be a good climatic indicator. As most of these are slow-moving, the front will shrink and retreat between surges and so the front position gives little information on whether the total ice mass is growing or shrinking. Mass balance measurements are therefore necessary to calculate the total volume change accurately. The mean winter accumulation on Brøggerbreen during the period 1967-1993 is 0.71 ±0.16 m (water equivalent – w.e.) and the mean summer ablation has been -1.15 ±0.31 m (w.e.) with a mean annual specific net mass balance of – 0.43 m (w.e.) as reported by earlier European studies. The Glacier Research Group, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) began mass balance monitoring on Vestre Brøggerbreen in 2011, in collaboration with National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), Goa and Geological Survey of India (GSI), Lucknow. Ten meter deep stakes were fixed on the Vestre Brøggerbreen Glacier by using the steam drill in the summer of 2011. On Vestre-I glacier (VB-I), 11 deep stakes were fixed in the ablation zone. On Vestre-II glacier (VB-II), 12 deep stakes were fixed both in the accumulation zone and the ablation zone. Thus, a network of a total of 23 deep stakes has been installed on Vestre Brøggerbreen Glacier. Apart from this ground penetrating radar measurement were also made to assess ice thickness. The mass balance monitoring will be continued in the upcoming summer and the first fruits of Indian cryospheric research in the Svalbard are expected soon.


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