Norwegian glaciers are melting. The photo shows a glacier in Jotunheimen National Park.

Norwegian glaciers are shrinking all over the country

A new mapping of the country’s glaciers finds that they have shrunk by 14 per cent.

The 14 per cent decrease is in comparison to the area covered by glaciers during the last mapping which was carried out between 1999-2006.

“The new mapping shows that some smaller glacial areas have disappeared since the last mapping, all of these were in Northern Norway. In addition, many smaller glaciers have nearly disappeared”, glacial researcher Liss M. Andreassen says in a press release from The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) (link in Norwegian).

Of the more famous glaciers, Breifonn in Rogaland and Vegdalsisen in Nordland are about to completely disappear, the press release states.

Glaciers are shrinking in the entire country, however, the largest decrease is found in Nordland in Northern Norway, where 186 square kilometres of glacier has been lost.

Glaciers in Norway cover 2328 square kilometers in total according to the new mapping.

“Glaciers are very sensitive to climate change and adjust their size by shrinking or growing when the climate changes”, NVE write in the press release.

The recent mapping includes more glaciers than the previous one, both because the new satellite images have a higher resolution which allows for the mapping of much smaller entities. But also because several of the glaciers have gone from being one big glacier to several smaller ones.

As a consequence of the melting, the new glacier mapping also found more than 350 new so-called glacier lakes. Several of them are quite small, and some are no longer in contact with the glacier they once melted from, due to later years melting.

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