Skip to main content Accessibility help

Estimating the long-term calving flux of Kronebreen, Svalbard, from geodetic elevation changes and mass-balance modeling

  • Christopher Nuth (a1), Thomas Vikhamar Schuler (a1), Jack Kohler (a2), Bas Altena (a2) (a3) and Jon Ove Hagen (a1)...


This study independently quantifies geodetic elevation change and models surface mass balance to solve the continuity equation. The approach is tested on two dynamically different glaciers, Kongsvegen and Kronebreen in northwest Svalbard, through two time epochs, 1966-1990/95 (I) and 1990/95-2007 (II). On Kongsvegen, a dynamically inactive glacier, the residual term represents an error associated with determining elevation changes and surface mass balance. It is apparent that centerline mass-balance estimates are not representative of the entire glacier, which we relate to center-line accumulation being larger than the elevation bin average. On Kronebreen, a fast-flowing and actively calving glacier, a significant part of the residual is identified with the long-term calving flux. For both glaciers, the cumulative surface mass balance remained close to zero during the first epoch but became increasingly negative in the second epoch. The long-term calving flux of Kronebreen is estimated to be -0.14 ± 0.03 km3 w.e.a-1 during epoch I and-0.20 ± 0.05 km3 w.e.a-1 in epoch II.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Estimating the long-term calving flux of Kronebreen, Svalbard, from geodetic elevation changes and mass-balance modeling
      Available formats

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Estimating the long-term calving flux of Kronebreen, Svalbard, from geodetic elevation changes and mass-balance modeling
      Available formats

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Estimating the long-term calving flux of Kronebreen, Svalbard, from geodetic elevation changes and mass-balance modeling
      Available formats



Hide All
Abdalati, W and 9 others (2004) Elevation changes of ice caps in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. J. Geophys. Res., 109(F4), F04007 (doi: 10.1029/2003JF000045)
Ahn, Y and Box, JE (2010) Glacier velocities from time-lapse photos: technique development and first results from the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) in Greenland. J. Glaciol., 56(198), 723-734
Altena, B (2008) Hypsometric measurements in Holtedahlfonna in 1966 and 1990. (Report Bachelor Internship, Hogeschool Utrecht)
Andreassen, LM (1999) Comparing traditional mass balance measurements with long-term volume change extracted from topographical maps: a case study of Storbreen glacier in Jotunheimen, Norway, for the period 1940-1997. Geogr. Ann., 81A(4), 467-476
Arendt, AA, Echelmeyer, KA, Harrison, WD, Lingle, CS and Valentine, VB (2002) Rapid wastage of Alaska glaciers and their contribution to rising sea level. Science, 297(5580), 382-386
Arnold, NS, Rees, WG, Hodson, AJ and Kohler, J (2006) Topographic controls on the surface energy balance of a high Arctic valley glacier. J. Geophys. Res., 111(F2), F02011 (doi: 10.1029/2005JF000426)
Bader, H (1954) Sorge’s Law of densification of snow on high polar glaciers. J. Glaciol., 2(15), 319-323
Barrand, NE, James, TD and Murray, T (2010) Spatio-temporal variability in elevation changes of two high-Arctic valley glaciers. J. Glaciol., 56(199), 771-780
Bartholomaus, TC, Anderson, RS and Anderson, SP (2008) Response of glacier basal motion to transient water storage. Nature Geosci., 1(1), 33-37
Baumberger, A (2008) Massebalanse pa Kronebreen/Holtedahl- fonna, Svalbard - kontrollerende faktorer. (Master’s thesis, University of Oslo)
Berthier, E, Arnaud, Y, Baratoux, D, Vincent, C and Remy, F (2004) Recent rapid thinning of the Mer de Glace glacier derived from satellite optical images. Geophys. Res. Lett., 31(17), L17401 (doi: 10.1029/2004GL020706)
Berthier, E, Schiefer, E, Clarke, GKC, Menounos, B and Remy, F (2010) Contribution of Alaskan glaciers to sea-level rise derived from satellite imagery. Nature Geosci., 3(2), 92-95
Bindschadler, RA (1984) Jacobshavns Glacier drainage basin: a balance assessment. J. Geophys. Res., 89(C2), 2066-2072
Bouillon, A, Bernard, M, Gigord, P, Orsoni, A, Rudowski, V and Baudoin, A (2006) SPOT 5 HRS geometric performances: using block adjustment as a key issue to improve quality of DEM generation. ISPRS J. Photogramm. Rem. Sens., 60(3), 134-146
Braithwaite, RJ (1981) On glacier energy balance, ablation, and air temperature. J. Glaciol., 27(97), 381-391
Braithwaite, RJ (1995) Positive degree-day factors for ablation on the Greenland ice sheet studied by energy-balance modelling. J. Glaciol., 41(137), 153-160
Brandt, O, Kohler, J and Luthje, M (2008) Spatial mapping of multiyear superimposed ice on the glacier Kongsvegen, Svalbard. J. Glaciol., 54(184), 73-80
Burgess, DO, Sharp, MJ, Mair, DWF, Dowdeswell, JA and Benham, TJ (2005) Flow dynamics and iceberg calving rates of Devon Ice Cap, Nuvavut, Canada. J. Glaciol., 51(173), 219-230
Cox, LH and March, RS (2004) Comparison of geodetic and glaciological mass-balance techniques, Gulkana Glacier, Alaska, USA. J. Glaciol., 50(170), 363-370
Cuffey, KM and Paterson, WSB (2010) The physics of glaciers, 4th edition. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford
Elsberg, DH, Harrison, WD, Echelmeyer, KA and Krimmel, RM (2001) Quantifying the effects of climate and surface change on glacier mass balance. J. Glaciol., 47(159), 649-658
Gudmundsson, GH and Bauder, A (1999) Towards an indirect determination of the mass-balance distribution of glaciers using the kinematic boundary condition. Geogr. Ann., 81A(4), 575-583
Hagen, JO, Melvold, K, Eiken, T, Isaksson, E and Lefauconnier, B (1999) Mass balance methods on Kongsvegen, Svalbard. Geogr. Ann., 81A(4), 593-601
Hagen, JO, Eiken, T, Kohler, J and Melvold, K (2005) Geometry changes on Svalbard glaciers: mass-balance or dynamic response? Ann. Glaciol., 42, 255-261
Hock, R (2003) Temperature index melt modelling in mountain areas. J. Hydrol., 282(1-4), 104-115
Hubbard, A and 6 others (2000) Glacier mass-balance determination by remote sensing and high-resolution modelling. J. Glaciol., 46(154), 491-498
Huss, M, Bauder, A and Funk, M (2009) Homogenization of long-term mass-balance time series. Ann. Glaciol., 50(50), 198-206
Iken, A and Bindschadler, RA (1986) Combined measurements of subglacial water pressure and surface velocity of Findelen- gletscher, Switzerland: conclusions about drainage system and sliding mechanism. J. Glaciol., 32(110), 101-119
Kääb, A (2000) Photogrammetric reconstruction of glacier mass balance using a kinematic ice-flow model: a 20 year time series on Grubengletscher, Swiss Alps. Ann. Glaciol., 31, 45-52
Kääb, A and Funk, M (1999) Modelling mass balance using photogrammetric and geophysical data: a pilot study at Gries- gletscher, Swiss Alps. J. Glaciol., 45(151), 575-583
Kääb, A, Lefauconnier, B and Melvold, K (2005) Flow field of Kronebreen, Svalbard, using repeated Landsat 7 and ASTER data. Ann. Glaciol., 42, 7-13
Kamb, B (1987) Glacier surge mechanism based on linked cavity configuration of the basal water conduit system. J. Geophys. Res., 92(B9), 9083-9100
Kehrl, LM, Hawley, RL, Powell, RD and Brigham-Grette, J (2011) Glacimarine sedimentation processes at Kronebreen and Kongs- vegen, Svalbard, J. Glaciol., 57(205), 841-847
Kohler, J. and 7 others (2007) Acceleration in thinning rate on western Svalbard glaciers. Geophys. Res. Lett., 34(18), L18502 (doi: 10.1029/2007GL030681)
Kbnig, M, Wadham, J, Winther, JG, Kohler, J and Nuttall, A-M (2002) Detection of superimposed ice on the glaciers Kongsvegen and midre Lovftnbreen, Svalbard, using SAR satellite imagery. Ann. Glaciol., 34, 335-342
Korona, J, Berthier, E, Bernard, M, Rrsmy, F and Thouvenot, E (2009) SPIRIT. SPOT 5 stereoscopic survey of Polar Ice: reference images and topographies during the fourth International Polar Year (2007-2009). ISPRSJ. Photogramm. Rem. Sens, 64(2), 204-212
Krimmel, RM (1999) Analysis of difference between direct and geodetic mass balance measurements at South Cascade Glacier, Washington. Geogr. Ann., 81A(4), 653-658
Langley, K and 6 others (2007) Use of C-band ground penetrating radar to determine backscatter sources within glaciers. IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sens., 45(5), 1236-1246
Lefauconnier, B and Hagen, JO (1990) Glaciers and climate in Svalbard: statistical analysis and reconstruction of the Broggerbreen mass balance for the last 77 years. Ann. Glaciol., 14, 148-152
Lefauconnier, B, Hagen, JO and Rudant, JP (1994a) Flow speed and calving rate of Kongsbreen glacier, Svalbard, using SPOT images. Polar Res., 13(1), 59-65
Lefauconnier, B, Hagen, JO, Pinglot, JF and Pourchet, M (1994b) Mass-balance estimates on the glacier complex Kongsvegen and Sveabreen, Spitsbergen, Svalbard, using radioactive layers. J. Glaciol., 40(135), 368-376
Lefauconnier, B, Hagen, JO, Orbaek, JB, Melvold, K and Isaksson, E (1999) Glacier balance trends in the Kongsfjorden area, western Spitsbergen, Svalbard, in relation to the climate. Polar Res., 18(2), 307-313
Liestol, O (1988) The glaciers in the Kongsfjorden area, Spitsbergen. Nor. Geogr. Tidsskr., 42(4), 231-238
Luthcke, SB, Arendt, AA, Rowlands, DD, McCarthy, JJ and Larsen, CF (2008) Recent glacier mass changes in the Gulf of Alaska region from GRACE mascon solutions. J. Glaciol., 54(188), 767-777
Melvold, K and Hagen, JO (1998) Evolution of a surge-type glacier in its quiescent phase: Kongsvegen, Spitsbergen, 1964-95. J. Glaciol., 44(147), 394-404
Moholdt, G, Hagen, JO, Eiken, T and Schuler, TV (2010a) Geometric changes and mass balance of the Austfonna ice cap, Svalbard. Cryosphere, 4(1), 21-34
Moholdt, G, Nuth, C, Hagen, JO and Kohler, J (2010b) Recent elevation changes of Svalbard glaciers derived from ICESat laser altimetry. Remote Sens. Environ., 114(11), 2756-2767
Nuth, C and Kääb, A (2011) Co-registration and bias corrections of satellite elevation data sets for quantifying glacier thickness change, Cryosphere, 5(1), 271-290
Nuth, C, Kohler, J, Aas, HF, Brandt, O and Hagen, JO (2007) Glacier geometry and elevation changes on Svalbard (1936-90): a baseline dataset. Ann. Glaciol., 46, 106-116
Nuth, C, Moholdt, G, Kohler, J, Hagen, JO and Kääb, A (2010) Svalbard glacier elevation changes and contribution to sea level rise. J. Geophys. Res., 115(F1), F01008 (doi: 10.1029/2008JF001223)
Ohmura, A (2001) Physical basis for the temperature-based melt- index method. J. Appl. Meteorol., 40(4), 753-761
Østrem, G and Brugman, M (1991) Glacier mass-balance measurements. A manual for field and office work. National Hydrology Research Institute, Environment Canada, Saskatoon, Sask. (NHRI Science Report 4)
Paul, F (2010) The influence of changes in glacier extent and surface elevation on modeled mass balance. Cryos. Discuss., 4(2), 737-766
Rees, WG and Arnold, NS (2007) Mass balance and dynamics of a valley glacier measured by high-resolution LiDAR. Polar Rec., 43(4), 311-319
Schoof, C (2010) Ice-sheet acceleration driven by melt supply variability. Nature, 468(7325), 803-806
Schuler, TV, Loe, E, Taurisano, A, Eiken, T, Hagen, JO and Kohler, J (2007) Calibrating a surface mass-balance model for Austfonna ice cap, Svalbard. Ann. Glaciol., 46, 241-248
Sicart, JE, Hock, R and Six, D (2008) Glacier melt, air temperature, and energy balance in different climates: the Bolivian Tropics, the French Alps, and northern Sweden. J. Geophys. Res., 113(D24), D24113 (doi: 10.1029/2008JD010406)
Sjogren, B and 6 others (2007) Determination of firn density in ice cores using image analysis. J. Glaciol., 53(182), 413-419
Taurisano, A. and 6 others (2007) The distribution of snow accumulation across Austfonna ice cap Svalbard: direct measurements and modelling. Polar Res., 26(1), 7-13
Thibert, E, Blanc, R, Vincent, C and Eckert, N (2008) Glaciological and volumetric mass-balance measurements: error analysis over 51 years for Glacier de Sarennes, French Alps. J. Glaciol., 54(186), 522-532
Uchida, T. and 7 others (1996) Ice core analyses and borehole temperature measurements at the drilling site on Asgardfonna, Spitsbergen, in 1993. Mem. Natl Inst. Polar Res., 51, Special Issue, 377-386
US Army Corps of Engineers (1956) Snow hydrology: summary report of the snow investigations. North Pacific Division, US Army Corps of Engineers, Portland, OR
Van den Broeke, M, Bus, C, Ettema, J and Smeets, P (2010) Temperature thresholds for degree-day modelling of Greenland ice sheet melt rates. Geophys. Res. Lett., 37(18), L18501 (doi: 10.1029/2010GL044123)
Vieli, A, Funk, M and Blatter, H (2001) Flow dynamics of tidewater glaciers: a numerical modelling approach. J. Glaciol., 47(159), 595-606
Voigt, U (1966) The determination of the direction of movement on glacier surfaces by terrestrial photogrammetry. J. Glaciol., 6(45), 359-367.
Wahr, J, Swensen, S, Zlotnicki, V and Velicogna, I (2004) Time-variable gravity from GRACE: first results. Geophys. Res. Lett., 31(11), L11501 (doi: 10.1029/2004GL019779)
Zemp, M and 6 others (2010) Reanalysis of multi-temporal aerial images of Storglaciaren, Sweden (1959-99). Part 2: Comparison of glaciological and volumetric mass balances. Cryosphere, 4(3), 345-357
Zwally, HJ and 7 others (2005) Mass changes of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and shelves and contributions to sea-level rise: 1992-2002. J. Glaciol., 51(175), 509-527

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Estimating the long-term calving flux of Kronebreen, Svalbard, from geodetic elevation changes and mass-balance modeling

  • Christopher Nuth (a1), Thomas Vikhamar Schuler (a1), Jack Kohler (a2), Bas Altena (a2) (a3) and Jon Ove Hagen (a1)...


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.