December 3, 2011
Hornbreen-Hambergbreen Retreat Svalbard
Posted by Mauri Pelto
Landsat comparison from 1990 and 2014. The 1990 terminus is at the red arrows and red dots, the 2014 terminus is the yellow dots.
Hornsund is a fjord that in 2014 almost cuts through the southern Island of Svalbard. The Institute of Geophysics Polish Academy have maintained a Polish Research Station in Hornsund since 1957. The 1984 map, from the University of Silesia, of the glaciers and geomorphology document the extent of the glaciers in 1983. At that time the eastern end of Hornsund was fronted by a single glacier terminus comprised of the Sotrbreen (ST), Hornsbreen (HO), Svalisbreen (SV) and Mendelejevbreen (ME). By 2010 retreat has led to the separation of these four glaciers.
1984 Map from the University of Silesia
2010 Landsat image
A comparison of locations in the 1990 map and the 2014 Landsat image indicate the retreat has been approximately. In 1983 the distance from the terminus of the Hornbreen to the terminus of Hambergbreen was 17 km. In 2010 the distance is 9 km, as seen below . A comparison of locations in the 1990 and 2014 Landsat image is indicate the retreat has been approximately 3.2 km for Hornbreen, and 2.7 km for Hambergbreen. Hambergbreen has also separated from Sykorabreen, which has retreated 800 m. . The retreat of the glaciers at the head of Hornsund follow the pattern of other glacier in the region Nannbreen and Hansbreen.
Pälli et al (2003)in a joint University of Oulu, Finland and University of Silesia noted that Hornbreen has retreated by 13.5 km from the central part of the front, and Hambergbreen (HA) by 16km from 1901-2000. As part of this project surveys of the basal topography beneath the glaciers was examined.
Moore et al, 2003) found that there is not a below sea level connection underneath the Hornbreen-Hamberbreen divide that would separate Sorkappland from Torrelland. The ice divide of Hornbreen-Hambergbreen is below the local snowline at 300 m and Pälli et al (2003) indicate that this connection cannot survive current climate. Kvamstø et al (2011) in a Bergen University led study noted the melt season had increased by more than two weeks in Svalbard from 1992-2010. In 1983 the distance from the terminus of the Hornbreen to the terminus of Hambergbreen was 17 km. In 2010 the distance is 9 km, as seen below.
2010 Landsat image