Target glaciers

Austfonna (79.5°N, 25°E)

At 8200, Austfonna is by far the largest ice cap in Svalbard and one of the largest in the Arctic. Austfonna is polythermal, and probably much of the bed is at the pressure melting point. Most of its boundary is calving. Glaciers in eastern Svalbard have the potential to discharge large volumes of icebergs into the Barents Sea, and calving fluxes are sensitive to dynamic changes triggered by surface melt or glacier surge cycles. Many surge-type glaciers occur in Svalbard, and former surge events have been large. For example, when an outlet from Austfonna, Bråsvellbreen, surged in 1936, the front advanced c. 10 km out into the sea over a width of about 10 km.

Kronebreen / Kongsvegen (79.0°N, 13.5°E).
Kronebreen is a fast tidewater glacier draining an area of 700 sq. km. It is close to Ny Ålesund and is an ideal, easily accessible laboratory for studying non-linear dynamic processes, including calving. Adjacent slow-flowing Kongsvegen (100 km2) allows comprehensive measurement of surface mass balance to be achieved easily. Insights gained at Kronebreen can then be applied to the wider problem of predicting the dynamic response of ice sheets to external forcing, and its implications for global sea level change.

Langfjordjøkelen ( 70º10'N, 21º45'E)

A maritime plateau glacier (8.4 sq. km.) in northern Norway, which has been studied by NVE since 1989. It is part of a Scandinavian E-W transect that includes two glaciers – Storglaciären and Mårmaglaciären - that will be studied within Glaciodyn by a group at the University of Stockholm. Langfjordjøkelen has a large mass turnover similar to maritime glaciers much farther south in Norway. Recent thinning and retreat is stronger than for any other glacier in mainland Norway.

Engabreen (66 º40' N, 13º59' E)

An outlet of the Svartisen ice cap , the largest ice mass in Northern Scandinavia, with a total area of 369 km2. Meltwater from Engabreen (38 km2) is used to drive a hydropower plant, some being taken subglacially through rock tunnels drilled at the base of the glacier. The Svartisen Subglacial Laboratory (SSL) at Engabreen provides a unique site to study in situ the direct coupling between hydrology and subglacial processes such as sliding, and to study the relationship between small-scale processes and large-scale patterns of flow.


Published May 31, 2010 4:10 PM - Last modified Feb. 8, 2011 11:15 AM