The 2022/23 winter mass balances at Austdalsbreen and Nigardsbreen were below average

by Hallgeir Elvehøy, May 12, 2023

The 2022/23 winter at Jostedalsbreen was fairly dry.

On 19th April, Even Loe (Statkraft) and Hallgeir Elvehøy (NVE) drove their snow scooters from Jostedalen to Austdalsbreen on the northern part of Jostedalsbreen to measure the winter mass balance. The average snow depth at Austdalsbreen was 3.8 m, and the preliminary winter mass balance was 1.7 m water equivalents. This is 77% of the 1991-2020 average winter mass balance.


On 3rd May, Even Loe and Bjarne Kjøllmoen (NVE) set out for Nigardsbreen to do the winter mass balance measurements there. Over two days of fieldwork, they measured on average 5.3 m snow in an area on the glacier plateau between Høgste Breakulen and Brenibba. This corresponds to a preliminary winter mass balance of 2.2 m water equivalents, which is 98% of the 1991-2020 average winter mass balance.

Mass balance mast on Austdalsbreen (1520 m a.s.l.) on 19th April 2021. Here, the snow depth was 4.2 m in April 2023. This mast was installed in 1992. It has been extended regularly as it is located in the accumulation area of Austdalsbreen, and it is now 30 m long. The mast has been surveyed repeatedly, and the annual velocity is 6 m per year (photo: Hallgeir Elvehøy/NVE).