Glacier balance trends in the Kongsfjorden area, western Spitsbergen, Svalbard, in relation to the climate

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Lefauconnier, Bernard ; Hagen, Jon Ove ; Børre Ørbæk, Jon ; Melvold, Kjetil ; Isaksson, Elisabeth (1999)

For the last thirty years, the mean net balance of two glaciers, Austre Brøggerbreen and Midre Lovénbreen, has been -0.43 and -0.34 m of water equivalent (w.e.). respectively. The mean net balance of Kongsvegen, a tidewater glacier that has been measured since 1987, is 0.11 m w.e. The negative balances of the two first glaciers are driven by the increase in atmospheric temperature which occurred at the end of the Little Ice Age at the beginning of the century. The positive balance of Kongsvegen is due to its higher elevation and larger accumulation area. There is no significant trend in the net balances and no increase of the melting has been detected during the last thirty years. A correlation coefficient of R = 0.83 has been obtained between the net balance of Lovénbreen and the winter precipitation, together with the summer temperature recorded at the neighbouring station of Ny-Ålesund since 1969. With 14 years of data, the correlation coefficient between the net balance and climatic parameters does not increase consistently by introducing any radiation component, but the coefficient correlation between the summer balance of Austre Brøggerbreen and summer temperature increases from 0.68 to 0.77 when introducing global and long-wave radiation for July and August. Weather conditions and the frequency of their changes influence the balance between global and long-wave radiation and changes in albedo values.
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