The story of Nottingham base camp

The University of Nottingham has an impressive historical connection to Tunsbergdalsbreen Glacier. Why is that so?

Well, to find out you have to check out this article in the University of Nottingham Alumni. Story short; the expeditions in the 1950s left a whole lot of garbage next to Tunsbergdalsbreen Glacier. At that time, what we today call garbage, was actually expedition equipment. The plan was to come back year after year to survey the glacier. But, when funding stopped, the expeditions stopped. For over 50 years the equipment was lost, untill John Price (a former member of the expedition in 1959) went back to clean the almost forgotten base camp. To help him he was joined by former expedition member, Derek Daniels, and 12 members of University of Nottingham's Mountaineering Club.

One of the participants, Madz Abbasi, brought her camera to Norway to document the expedition. See the full documentary below:

Also, see this article as a prelude to the mission they accomplished.

Garbage removal mission in Jostedalsbreen National Park

In September this fall, a group of British students are coming to the remote areas close to Tunsbergdalsbreen Glacier to clean garbage in Jostedalsbreen National Park.

Back in the late 1950s, expedition equipment was left off by British explorers on a mountain ridge (to the right in the picture) just next to Tunsbergdalsbreen Glacier. This is almost 60 years ago and a brave group of students in Nottingham, as represented by the University of Nottingham Mountaineering Club, are going to clean up what now is defined as garbage. Or in a young mountaineering explorers' eyes; treasures of explorers from the past!

The mission of garbage removal is taking place in September this fall and is a cooperative initiative, as ignited by John Price (a former expedition member from 1959), between the Tunsbergdalsbreen Project (Norsk Bremuseum & Brathay Exploration Trust), Jostedalsbreen National Park and the National Park Ranger, and the University of Nottingham Mountaineering Club. A group of 12 students will explore the mountains and glaciers for a week or so, and in between they will locate the old Nottingham Camp, collect the garbage and fill heli-bags to be collected by a helicopter. The garbage will then be transported to a landfill for waste treatment.

Check out pictures from the 2014 expedition to locate the 1950's camp.

Tunsbergdalsbreen glacier retreat

In this post we are presenting some findings about the retreat of Tunsbergdalsbreen glacier.

An examination of Tunsbergdalsbreen in Landsat imagery reveals glacier retreat from 1989 to 2014. These findings are available in the "From a glaciers perspective" blog, by Mauri S. Pelto who is a professor of environmental science at Nichols College in Dudley, Massachusetts and director of the North Cascades Glacier Climate Project.

The post about Tunsbergdalsbreen was originally published in February 2012. After an email exchange of information between The Norwegian Glacier Museum and professor Pelto, the post was updated with a Landsat imagery from 2014 and photos of the glacier terminus from 2013.

The important findings from this examination are clear evidences on negative length changes and a thinning of the glacier, which indicates a negative mass balance. 

In the Landsat image from 2014 you clearly see a proglacial lake at the terminus that didn't exist in 1989. From 1989 to 2014 this lake grew 700 metres long, see the purple arrows.

Exposure of bedrock is also evident over the time period, which is a result of an ongoing thinning of the ice, as indicated by the green arrows. An increasing snowline (which indicate the equillibrium line) is a concern for sustaining the glacier.

We thank professor Pelto for kindly giving us permisson to publish these findings on our website. Check out his blog, "From a glaciers perspective" for more detailed information and interesting reading about other glaciers from around the world.

The retreat of Tunsbergdalsbreen, as common with most glaciers world wide, is a long term trend. This is known through several previous investigations of the glacier. By compiling earlier works and maps of Tunsbergdalsbreen, students connected to the Tunsbergdalsbreen Project has produced maps of the glacier extent at different stages.

The map in figure 3 shows glacier extent from 1743 to 1995. The curved lines represent former terminal morraines. Note that the extent goes into a lake. This is a dammed reservoir for hydro power built in 1978.

In figure 4 you see a detailed map of Tunsbergdalsbreens extent and geomorphology in the glacier foreland from 1908 to 2010. 

These maps are just a few examples of what young and clever participants in Tunsbergdalsbreen Project has produced over the years. Many of the expedition members have been students at bachelor level, using data from field work in their own dissertations.

Stay tuned for more news about our Tunsbergdalsbreen Project.

Figure 1. Tunsbergdalsbreen 1989. Credit: Mauri S. Pelto.

Figure 2. Tunsbergdalsbreen 2014. Credit: Mauri S. Pelto.

Figure 3. Tunsbergdalsbreen 1743 - 1995. Credit: Matthias Trepesch 2009.

Figure 4. Geomorphological map of Tunsbergdalsbreen. Credit: Al Smith 2011.