Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2024-167
https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-2024-167
02 Jul 2024
 | 02 Jul 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ESSD.

Ice thickness and bed topography of Jostedalsbreen ice cap, Norway

Mette Kusk Gillespie, Liss Marie Andreassen, Matthias Huss, Simon de Villiers, Kamilla Hauknes Sjursen, Jostein Aasen, Jostein Bakke, Jan Magne Cederstrøm, Halgeir Elvehøy, Bjarne Kjøllmoen, Even Loe, Marte Meland, Kjetil Melvold, Sigurd Daniel Nerhus, Torgeir Opeland Røthe, Eivind Nagel Wilhelm Støren, Kåre Øst, and Jacob Clement Yde

Abstract. We present an extensive dataset of ice thickness measurements from Jostedalsbreen ice cap, mainland Europe's largest glacier. The dataset consists of more than 351 000 point values of ice thickness distributed along ~1100 km profile segments that cover most of the ice cap. Ice thickness was measured during field campaigns in 2018, 2021, 2022, and 2023 using various ground-penetrating radar (GPR) systems with frequencies ranging between 2.5 and 500 MHz. The large majority of ice thickness observations were collected in spring using either snowmobiles (90 %) or a helicopter-based radar system (8 %), while summer measurements were carried out on foot (2 %). To ensure accessibility and ease of use, metadata were attributed following the GlaThiDa dataset and follows the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) guiding principles. Our findings show that glacier ice of more than 400 m thickness is found in the upper regions of large outlet glaciers, with a maximum ice thickness of ~630 m in the Tunsbergdalsbreen outlet glacier accumulation area. Thin ice of less than 50 m covers narrow regions joining the central part of Jostedalsbreen with its northern and southern parts, making the ice cap vulnerable to break-up with future climate warming. Using the point values of ice thickness as input to an ice thickness model, we compute 10 m grids of ice thickness and bed topography that cover the entire ice cap. From these distributed datasets we find that Jostedalsbreen has a mean ice thickness of 154 m ±22 m and a present (~2020) ice volume of 70.6 ±10.2 km3. Locations of depressions in the map of bed topography are used to delimitate the locations of potential future lakes, consequently providing a glimpse of the landscape if the entire Jostedalsbreen melts away. Together, the comprehensive ice thickness point values and ice cap-wide grids serve as a baseline for future climate change impact studies at Jostedalsbreen.

All data are available for download at https://doi.org/10.58059/yhwr-rx55 (Gillespie et al., 2024).

Publisher's note: Copernicus Publications remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims made in the text, published maps, institutional affiliations, or any other geographical representation in this preprint. The responsibility to include appropriate place names lies with the authors.
Mette Kusk Gillespie, Liss Marie Andreassen, Matthias Huss, Simon de Villiers, Kamilla Hauknes Sjursen, Jostein Aasen, Jostein Bakke, Jan Magne Cederstrøm, Halgeir Elvehøy, Bjarne Kjøllmoen, Even Loe, Marte Meland, Kjetil Melvold, Sigurd Daniel Nerhus, Torgeir Opeland Røthe, Eivind Nagel Wilhelm Støren, Kåre Øst, and Jacob Clement Yde

Status: open (until 09 Aug 2024)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on essd-2024-167', Anonymous Referee #1, 17 Jul 2024 reply
Mette Kusk Gillespie, Liss Marie Andreassen, Matthias Huss, Simon de Villiers, Kamilla Hauknes Sjursen, Jostein Aasen, Jostein Bakke, Jan Magne Cederstrøm, Halgeir Elvehøy, Bjarne Kjøllmoen, Even Loe, Marte Meland, Kjetil Melvold, Sigurd Daniel Nerhus, Torgeir Opeland Røthe, Eivind Nagel Wilhelm Støren, Kåre Øst, and Jacob Clement Yde

Data sets

Jostedalsbreen ice thickness and bed topography data Mette Kusk Gillespie et al. https://doi.org/10.58059/yhwr-rx55

Mette Kusk Gillespie, Liss Marie Andreassen, Matthias Huss, Simon de Villiers, Kamilla Hauknes Sjursen, Jostein Aasen, Jostein Bakke, Jan Magne Cederstrøm, Halgeir Elvehøy, Bjarne Kjøllmoen, Even Loe, Marte Meland, Kjetil Melvold, Sigurd Daniel Nerhus, Torgeir Opeland Røthe, Eivind Nagel Wilhelm Støren, Kåre Øst, and Jacob Clement Yde

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Short summary
Here we present an extensive new ice thickness dataset from Jostedalsbreen ice cap which will serve as baseline for future studies of regional climate-induced change. Results show that Jostedalsbreen currently (~2020) has a maximum ice thickness of ~630 m, a mean ice thickness of 154 m ± 22 m and an ice volume of 70.6 ± 10.2 km3. Ice of less than 50 m thickness covers two narrow regions of the ice cap, and Jostedalsbreen is likely to separate into three smaller ice caps in a warming climate.
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