Investigating the future evolution of Norwegian glaciers and hydrological impacts: an integrated modelling approach (EvoGlac)

Glaciers provide natural storage and regulation of water supply to rivers, which, in turn, contribute to water supply for domestic and industrial consumption, irrigation and hydropower. There is a critical and pressing need to better understand the effects of climate change on glaciers, and the local-to-regional hydrological impacts these changes induce, in a holistic manner. However, the regional processes, mass balance and/or other glacial processes, are still poorly understood. Further, the impacts these changes have on water resources are typically investigated via a one-way chain of discrete models, which often have significant assumptions, missing feedbacks and mismatches in temporal and spatial resolution.

EvoGlac represents a major interdisciplinary effort designed to create a novel fully-coupled atmosphere-glacier-hydrological modelling system, which will allow researchers and decision makers to gain deeper understanding of the future evolution of glaciers and glaciated watersheds. In order to meet the primary and secondary objectives described in the grant application form we propose to conduct field campaigns (WP1) and build (WP2), test (WP2), and then apply (WP3), a fully coupled atmosphere-glacier-hydrological modelling system over a well-monitored glacier complex in Norway (Hardangerjøkulen). The centerpiece of the project will be a multi-scale, very high-resolution, fully coupled, transient simulation for the entire 21st century, which will be used to investigate our central hypotheses and compare against existing model-chain and statistical approaches to modelling glacier and hydroclimate responses to warming. Additionally, EvoGlac will actively engage with regional public and private stakeholders to increase awareness, educate and, in the long term, enhance adaptation efforts and improve understanding of how future changes in glacier mass balance may alter streamflow and regional water resources in Norway.