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Home* News and Stories → The Hin­lo­pen gla­cier retre­ats

The Hin­lo­pen gla­cier retre­ats

This is shown by satel­li­te images, that the Ame­ri­can Geo­phy­si­cal Uni­on has published. Bet­ween 1990 and 2016 the gla­cier has retrea­ted seven kilo­me­ters.

Hin­lo­pen­breen 1990 und 2016. Red arrow shows 1990 ter­mi­nus, yel­low arrow shows 2016 ter­mi­nus – Images: AGU, Land­sat

Landsat imagery of Hinlopenbreen

The Hin­lo­pen gla­cier in the north-east of Spits­ber­gen is a so-cal­led sur­ge-gla­cier. That means, that lon­ger peri­ods with nor­mal flow speed alter­na­te with shorter peri­ods, in which the gla­cier flows 10 to 1.000 times fas­ter. The last sur­ge hap­pen­ed from 1970-1971, when the gla­cier pushed 2.5 km into the fjord in one year. It moved up to 12 meters a day then.

The decrease in ice, that has now been obser­ved, has pro­ba­b­ly not­hing to do with the­se nor­mal fluc­tua­tions which are con­nec­ted to the glacier’s inter­nal mecha­nics. If a sur­ge-gla­cier retre­ats, the ice usual­ly accu­mu­la­tes in the accu­mu­la­ti­on area: it is thi­c­ke­ning. At the Hin­lo­pen gla­cier it was obser­ved, that the ice on the upper gla­cier is also thin­ning. This sug­gests that it is not the ear­ly stage of a sur­ge pro­cess, but cli­ma­te chan­ge that is respon­si­ble for the retre­at of the Hin­lo­pen gla­cier.

Other gla­ciers on Spits­ber­gen are also under­go­ing a simi­lar deve­lo­p­ment, such as the Pai­er­breen, Horn­breen, Bes­sel­breen and Svitjod­breen.

Source: AGU



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last modification: 2017-05-25 · copyright: Rolf Stange