July 24, 2013

Strupbreen and Koppangsbreen Glacier Retreat, Northern Norway

Posted by Mauri Pelto

Strupbreen and Koppangsbreen are in Lyngen region of northern Norway, draining into Lyngen Fjord. the glaciers share an accumulation area and have a joint area of 14 square kilometers, which is the 24th largest glacier in Norway in the NVE inventory (The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate). The nearby Langfjordjokulen, measured by NVE , had negative mass balances for 14 consecutive years from 1997-2010, leading to a 370 m retreat from 2000-2010. Koppangsbreen retreat as assessed by NVE is 168 m from 2000-2010. Here we examine the retreat and formation of two new lakes at the terminus of these glaciers using Landsat imagery from 1990, 2002 and 2011. The yellow arrow indicates the terminus of Koppangsbreen, the red arrow Strupbreen, and the green arrow a location on the ice divide between the glaciers. Both glaciers end at about 500 m, and the distance to sea level is a mere 1.5 km for Strupbreen and 2 km for Koppangsbreen which leads to some spectacular waterfalls. strupbreen ge
Google Earth image

In 1990 there is a tiny sliver of a lake apparent at the end of Koppangsbreen and not lake at the end of Strupbreen. At the ice divide there is no exposed bedrock knob in 1990. By 2002 there is no lake at the end of Strupbreen and a small oval lake partly snow filled is at the end of Koppangsbreen. The ice divide is still all snow and ice. In 2011 the ice divide is interrupted by a bedrock knob that is 150 m long. This indicates thinning of the glacier even at 900 m. A lake has formed at the end of Strupbreen, and the glacier has retreated 300 m since 1990. Koppangsbreen has retreated 250 m since 1990 and the new lake at the terminus is now 300 m across. The two glaciers are a destination for glacier walking treks from the Lyngen Lodge, providing some excellent images of the terminus lakes. The retreat of these two glaciers follows the pattern of others in northern Norway, including Engabreen and Blamannsisen. strupbreen 1990
1990 Landsat image

strupbreen 2002
2002 Landsat image

strupbreen 2011
2011 Landsat image