Glaciers are highly sensitive to climate changes and their projected retreat is likely to impact communities and industries in the vicinity. Presently, there is urgent need for a better understanding of how glacier retreat necessitates societal transition.
Our project faces these challenges by providing benchmark glaciological and hydrological investigations of Jostedalsbreen, and by linking glacier changes to regional climatic changes. These results will be used to assess societal impacts and propose climate change adaptation strategies to Norwegian communities already affected by glacier driven changes on tourism and hydropower industries. The region around Jostedalsbreen is probably the most affected region in Norway with respect to societal consequences of glacier retreat.
Our project will attract significant scientific and public attention to the plight of Jostedalsbreen and the region. We will employ geophysical radar techniques tested in a recent pilot study to obtain high-quality data on ice thickness and glacier bed topography. Together with surface topography data and existing long-term meteorological and glacier mass balance data, the geophysical data will be incorporated into state-of-the-art mass balance, runoff and ice dynamic models of Jostedalsbreen. These models will predict future glacier and runoff changes and visualize the progress of thinning and retreat of Jostedalsbreen. A high-resolution regional climate model will be applied to determine the effects of changing glacier geometry on local atmospheric circulation patterns and simulate future changes in regional climate. The modeling efforts will be used to evaluate the impacts of projected glacier and climate changes on regional tourism, hydropower production and agriculture.
A strong partnership between scientists and regional shareholders will secure integral research collaboration, implementation of adaptation strategies, and ensure the high-impact of the research to the general public.