Publisert 17.02.2016 , sist oppdatert 31.05.2018


Engabreen on 29th July 2015. Photo: Hallgeir Elvehøy

Engabreen (66°40'N, 13°45'E) (also referred to as Engenbreen) is a northern outlet glacier from Vestisen (western Svartisen ice cap). Its area is 39.6 km2. Most of the area lies between 1200 and 1450 m a.s.l. The glacier tongue comes all the way down to Engabrevatnet at 7 m a.s.l. See photos of the glacier.

The rivers from the northern and eastern side of Svartisen were regulated in the 1990s for hydro power production by construction of a tunnel system partly underneath the glacier. The melt water from Engabreen is collected into this tunnel system at 620 m a.s.l. underneath 200 m of glacier ice in the ice fall. In connection with this intake a research station called Svartisen Subglacial Laboratory was established.

Glacier length change
Several teminal moraines are situated between Engabrevatnet and Holandsfjorden. During an advance in the early 18th Century the farm Storstenøren was destroyed (1723). The glacier probably reached its maximum extension during the 18th Century. By 1896 the terminus had retreated approximately 500 m interrupted by several minor advances. In 1903 regular length change observations was initiated. An advance culminated around 1910. By 1931 the glacier retreated 100 meters, and the glacier tongue was thinning. During the next decade, calving and rapid retreat resulted in the appearance of Engabrevatnet. In 1965 the glacier had its most retracted position. After that, the glacier has had three advances culminating in 1971, 1984 and 1999. After 1999 the glacier has retreated.

Mass balance
Mass balance measurements have been performed annually at Engabreen since 1970. In 1997 a maximum of 11 m of snow was measured at Engabreen, while the average snow depth on the glacier plataue is 6-8 metres. On the glacier tounge 10-15 m of ice melt every year.

Results from NVE’s mass balance and length change measurements on Engabreen are published in the series 'Glaciological investigations in Norway'. The results can be viewed and downloaded from NVEs glacier data portal

Glacier dynamics
Glacier movement is measured at stakes drilled into the glacier by repeated positioning using GPS. Calculated velocity varies from a few meters per year up to more than 200 m per year in the ice fall. Detailed displacement measurements using feature recognition in aerial photographs obtained a few weeks apart in summer revealed glacier velocities up to 1.3 m per day close to the centre line in the ice fall. The velocity decreased towards the margins and the terminus due to thinner ice leads to less internal ice deformation and basal sliding.

(also look at 'Publications' at Svartisen Subglacial Laboratory)

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)

Andreassen, L.M., H. Elvehøy, B. Kjøllmoen, R.V. Engeset and N. Haakensen 2005. Glacier mass-balance and length variations in Norway. Annals of Glaciology, No. 42, s. 317-325.

Elvehøy, H. 2016. Reanalysing of a mass balance record, Engabreen 1970–2014.NVE Rapport 29, Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate. (pdf)

Engeset, R. V., H. Elvehøy, L.M. Andreassen, N. Haakensen, B. Kjøllmoen, L.A. Roald & E. Roland 2000: Modelling of historic variations and future scenarios of the mass balance of Svartisen ice cap, northern Norway. Annals of Glaciology, No. 31, s. 97-103.

Geist, T., H. Elvehøy, M. Jackson & J. Stötter 2005: Investigations on intra-annual elevation changes using multitemporal airborne laser scanning data – case study Engabreen, Norway. Annals of Glaciology, No. 42, s. 195-201.

Jackson M., I.A. Brown and H. Elvehøy 2005: Velocity measurements on Engabreen, Norway. Annals of Glaciology, No. 42, s. 29-34.

Jansson P., J. Kohler and V.A. Pohjola 1996: Characteristics of Basal Ice at Engabreen, Northern Norway. Annals of Glaciology, No. 22, pp. 114-120. [NVE Meddelelse nr. 93]

Bjarne Kjøllmoen (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.

Kohler, J., 1998: The effect of Subglacial Intakes on Ice Dynamics at Engabreen. NVE Rapport, 12, 47 s.

Schuler, T.V., R. Hock, M. Jackson, H. Elvehøy, M. Braun, I. Brown and J.-O. Hagen 2005. Distributed mass-balance and climate sensitivity modelling of Engabreen, Norway. Annals of Glaciology, No. 42, s. 395-401.

Sætrang, A. 1988: Kartlegging av istykkelse på vestre Svartisen 1986. NVE Rapport, 3, 20 s.