Glacier recedes by a ‘dramatic’ degree

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Another Norwegian glacier has shown “dramatic” signs of being threatened by climate change. The Nigard Glacier in Jostedalen lost fully 80 meters of its ice just this past summer.

The Nigard Glacier in the mountainous county of Sogn og Fjordane, before it receded another 80 meters this past summer. PHOTO: Wikipedia

It was the warmest summer ever recorded in Norway, also characterized by a severe drought. That contributed to how the Nigard Glacier receded to a degree that also makes it more dangerous, according to a professor at the University of Bergen.

“Parts of the arms of the glacier are now quite dangerous, Professor Atle Nesje told state broadcaster NRK. “When they melt and break up, they are potentially dangerous for anyone going near them.” Some tourists have ignored areas roped off around the glacier, with fatal consequences. A man was killed just this past summer, while a couple was also killed in 2014.

Nesje said he was worried about the glacier measurements, “but I hadn’t expected they would amount to as much as 80 meters,” Nesje told NRK. “That’s dramatic, and surprising.”

It’s also the largest reduction in the glacier ever recorded. The Nigard Glacier is part of the Jostedals Glacier in Luster, in the mountainous county of Sogn og Fjordane.

Bjarne Kjøllmoen, a senior engineer for state waterways agency NVE, said it wasn’t just the warm summer, but rather “many years of more melting that new snow.” He predicts the lower portion of the glacier will disappear entirely within the next four to five years.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund