October 26, 2015
Blágnípujökull, Iceland Retreat 1986-2015
Posted by Mauri Pelto
Blágnípujökull comparison in Landsat imagery from 1986 and 2014.
Blágnípujökull is an outlet glacier on the western side of Hofsjökull. The Iceland Glaciological Society spearheads an annual terminus monitoring program led by Oddur Sigurðsson. This data set enabled an examination of glacier response to climate change in Iceland from 1930-1995 by Tómas Jóhannesson, Icelandic Meteorological Office and Sigurðsson (1998). This illustrated that Hofsjökull glaciers retreated little from 1950 to 1990, but all retreating significantly after 2000. Here we examine Landsat imagery of Blágnípujökull terminus change from 1986 to 2015.
Outlet map of the glacier from the Iceland Glaciological Society.
Iceland Glaciological Society data on terminus change, notice change from advance to retreat in the 1990’s
In 1986 the glacier terminated at the red arrow. North of the main terminus is a separate glacier terminus, purple arrow. By 1998 there is limited retreat less than 200 m. By 2014 the terminus area around the purple area has been largely lost. The glacier has retreated from the red dots to the yellow dots, a distance of 600 meters. The thinning is also evident in the region between the two main termini of Blágnípujökull, the margin is not as close to the edge of the lava flow capping the hill that the glacier terminus parts around. The snowline is also quite high on the ice cap in 2014. In 2015 the image is after a summer snowstorm and the is not clear enough to accurately assess further terminus change. The changes in this glacier parallel those of other Iceland Glaciers: Porisjokull and Langjokull.