Publisert 17.02.2016 , sist oppdatert 07.11.2016


Ålfotbreen and Hansebreen on 12th August 2010. Photo: Hallgeir Elvehøy

The Ålfotbreen ice cap (61°45'N, 5°40'E) is 17 km2, and is both the westernmost and the most maritime glacier in Norway.

Mass balance studies are carried out on two adjacent north-facing outlet glaciers - un-officially named Ålfotbreen (4.5 km2) and Hansebreen (3.1 km2). None of the outlet glaciers from the icecap are given names on the official maps. The western of these two has been the subject of mass balance investigations since 1963, and has always been reported as Ålfotbreen. The investigations at the eastern glacier, Hansebreen, started in 1986. The results can be viewed and downloaded from NVEs glacier data portal. The data are also published in the series 'Glaciological Investigations in Norway'

Mass balance
Mass balance measurements began at the western outlet Ålfotbreen in 1963. The snow accumulation is to a large extent influenced by wind drift from south and west. Hansebreen is less exposed to wind drift. In order to evaluate the snow drift effects at this ice cap, mass balance measurements at Hansebreen has been carried out since 1986. The measurements have shown up to 25 % more snow accumulation at Ålfotbreen.


Andreassen, L. M., H. Elvehøy, B. Kjøllmoen, and R. V. Engeset. 2016. Reanalysis of long-term series of glaciological and geodetic mass balance for 10 Norwegian glaciers, The Cryosphere, 10, 535-552, doi:10.5194/tc-10-535-2016. (pdf)

Kjøllmoen, B. 2016. Reanalysing a glacier mass balance measurement series – Ålfotbreen (1963–2010) and Hansebreen (1986–2010). NVE Rapport 31, Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate. (pdf)

Kjøllmoen, B. (Ed.), Liss M. Andreassen, Hallgeir Elvehøy, Miriam Jackson and Rianne H. Giesen, 2011: Glaciological investigations in Norway in 2010. NVE Report 3 2011, 89 p. +app..

Østrem, G. and N. Haakensen.1999: Map comparison or traditional mass balance measurements: which method is better? Geografiska Annaler No 81A, p 703-711.