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120 Fv152
Sogn og Fjordane, 6848

+47 57 69 32 88

The Norwegian Glacier Museum offers entertainment and education for the whole family. The Norwegian Glacier Museum is a official visitor centre of the Jostedalsbreen National Park.


News. Here you find the latest news from the Norwegian Glacier Museum.

The glaciers recede in 2018

Pål Gran Kielland

The Norwegian Glacier Museum & Ulltveit-Moe Climate Centre are measuring the front position of two glaciers in Jostedalsbreen National Park. The data shows recession in 2018.

The front of Vetle Supphellebreen Glacier on October 11 in 2018.

The front of Vetle Supphellebreen Glacier on October 11 in 2018.

Front position measurements

The Vetle Supphellebreen glacier in Fjærland had been advancing the three previous years, but in 2018 it receded 6 metres. We re-started the measurements in 2011, and the glacier have been relatively stable. The glacier was also monitored in the period 1899-1944 and receded in total about 450 metres.

Haugabreen Glacier in early October 2018.

Haugabreen Glacier in early October 2018.

We also monitor the front position of Haugabreen Glacier in Jølster. The data shows a recession of 16 metres in 2018, and the glacier have been shrinking 69 metres since we started the measurements in 2013. During the past couple of years glacier streams are becoming visible in the glacier foreland, which mean it can be difficult to access the glacier for guided hikes, without getting wet, in the future.

Bøyabreen Glacier October 1 in 2018.

Bøyabreen Glacier October 1 in 2018.

Other more well known glaciers, like Bøyabreen and Supphellebreen, are also beeing recorded for the future by taking photos. The glacier recession over the years have been causing problems for executing the front position measurements, but photography makes it possible to still document the glacier development.

More information about glacier measurements is available on the website of The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate. Here, you can read about the heavy glacier melting in 2018 and how glaciers like Engabreen and Nigardsbreen receded 140 and 81 metres respectively.

Glaciers and climate

The hot summer this year took its toll on the snow and ice on the Jostedalsbreen Ice Cap. Since the advance of the late 90’s, the outlet glaciers have been receding the past 20 years. This is all part of the ongoing long term trend of receding glaciers in a warming climate. According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), 2018 is heading to be on of the warmest years to have been registered since the temperature measurements started in the middle of the 1800s. The glaciers are an important source of water on Earth, as 70% of the fresh water is stored as glacial ice. They contribute to a stable water supply and they are one of our best climate archives.

Extended opening hours in September

Pål Gran Kielland

In September we will extend our opening hours from 10:00 - 16:00 to 09:00 - 19:00. An increase in visitors has given us a longer season, both in spring time and in the fall.

We are very happy about this, since all we want is to share knowledge about glaciers and climate to even more guests - both former and new ones!

A happy late summer greeting from the team at The Norwegian Glacier Museum in Fjærland!

The Glacier Museum opens in Easter

Pål Gran Kielland

A new season is not far away here in Fjærland, and we would like to welcome both old and new guests to visit us in 2018. The Glacier Museum opens in Easter, on March 29.

We are open every day 10:00 to 16:00.

Regards all of us in the Norwegian Glacier Museum & Ulltveit-Moe climate centre.

Report from glacier measurements

Pål Gran Kielland

Vetle Supphellebreen Glacier is resisting the melting trend by advancing in 2017, while Haugabreen Glacier is retreating.

By the front of Vetle Supphellebreen Glacier in the start of November 2017. Photo: Pål Gran Kielland.

By the front of Vetle Supphellebreen Glacier in the start of November 2017. Photo: Pål Gran Kielland.

For glacier-interested people there are always good news when a glacier is advancing. Vetle Supphellebreen Glacier advanced for the third year in a row, this year 2 metres. The glacier retreated the first couple of years we did front position measurements, but in total the glacier has advanced 4 metres since 2011. This means the glacier is more or less stable. A surplus of snow in the measurement period may explain the glacier development. If we take a look at local weather stations we see that precipitation is above average for the period 2011-2017. There is a complex symphony which governs glacier development, but in simple terms it is the relationship between winter snow and summer temperature that determines the glacier balance between years.

Haugabreen Glacier after a snow fall in November 2017. Photo: Pål Gran Kielland.

Haugabreen Glacier after a snow fall in November 2017. Photo: Pål Gran Kielland.

The bad news is that Haugabreen Glacier is retreating. The glacier hit a negative personal record by retreating 18 metres this year. Since we started the measurement program, the glacier has a total retreat of 53 metres. We do see an increase in precipitation by looking at data from nearby weather stations, but this is probably not sufficient to resist the melting. 

The changes in glacial extension tells us something about changes in climate. Since the presence of glaciers is mainly controlled by winter snow and summer temperatures, a glacier will reflect changes in these climatic parameters. Large amounts of snow and low temperatures during the winter favour glacier growth, while low amounts of snow and/or high summer temperatures causes glacier retreat.

Growth or retreat is a reaction to a positive or negative mass balance. But, due to different reaction time, there may be a delay of several years between a measured positive mass balance and glacier growth. Short and steep outlet glaciers, like Briksdalsbreen or Bøyabreen, reacts relatively fast. Long, large and gentle sloping glaciers, like Tunsbergdalsbreen and Nigardsbreen, has slower reactions to changes in climatic conditions.

Fjaerland Guiding

Pål Gran Kielland

Fjaerland Guiding offers tailormade hikes and events on request. Smiling guides gives you fairytale adventures packed with good stories and local knowledge.

From the Skeidsnipa traverse (photo: Pål G. Kielland).

In summer season Fjaerland Guiding offers open glacier walks on glaciers close to Fjaerland. Information will be available consecutively at Fjaerland Tourist Information, and hotels and campings nearby during the summer. For special requested glacier walks, please contact Fjaerland Guiding.

Easy but great walk in the fantastic surroundings in front of Bøyabreen Glacier (photo: Pål Gran Kielland).


Welcome to your next adventure!

Visual proofs of glacier retreat

Pål Gran Kielland

The Norwegian Glacier Museum & Ulltveit-Moe climate centre has, since the opening in 1991, naturally, been interested in the glaciers and their development. The trend today is glacier retreat, but one glacier has advanced.

Bøyabreen Glacier 2016. Photo: Pål Gran Kielland.

We are responsible for glacier front position measurements on a few nearby glaciers, but results presented as statistics and numbers doesn’t always make sense for everyone. Today, the glacier retreat makes measurements difficult on some glaciers. But we still can capture their behavior by camera, which is a great tool to follow the development. We are especially interested in the two most famous glaciers in Fjærland, which are Bøyabreen and Supphellebreen. Due do difficulties doing measurements on them we had to stop the time series in 2014. Already in 2014 we got reports about “black holes” in the glacier tongue of Bøyabreen. The hole is visible also this year and it is a clear sign that the glacier is thinning.

Bøyabreen in 1997 (photo: Stefan Winkler) and 2016 (photo: Pål Gran Kielland).

By comparing photos from 1997, when the glacier had advanced in the late 90’s, with the situation today we can see that the regenerated glacier below the icefall is almost melted away. Exposed bedrock under and around the glacier tongue gets increasingly visible. The changes since the late 90s are big. From 2003 to 2014, when we started the measurement program, the glacier has retreated 160 metres.

Store Supphellebreen in 1997 (photo: Stefan Winkler) and 2016 (photo: Pål Gran Kielland).

When we look at glacier Store Supphellebreen it is also clear that the regenerated part of the glacier is shrinking. We did measurements from 2002 to 2014 and registered 70 metres retreat.

Big boulder in 1899 (photo: John Bernhard Rekstad) and 2016 (photo: Pål Gran Kielland).

Quite recently we discovered a big boulder that originally was used as a marker to measure the glacier front position back in 1899. It was geologist John Bernhard Rekstad (1852-1934) who first used the boulder as a marker. In 1899 the distance to the glacier was 77 metres, but today it is over 400 metres. This means the glacier has retreated over 300 metres since 1899. In the photo from 1899 it is Mr. Rekstad himself standing beside the boulder, while it is the operations manager at the Glacier Museum, Svein Arne Bøyum, who is appearing in the new photo.

Store Supphellebreen (Flatbreen) in 1906 (photo: Monchton) and 2012 (photo: Pål Gran Kielland)

At higher altitudes we also see changes. About 100 years ago, glacier Store Supphellebreen, formed a large terminal moraine. In the years since, the glacier development has been negative. To put it in simple words: it is like the air is going out of the balloon…

Glacier front position measurements
In 2016 we have measured the glacier front positions at Haugabreen in Jølster and Vetle Supphellebreen in Fjærland. The results show that Haugabreen has retreated 15 metres since 2015. We started to measure this glacier in 2013 and the total retreat is 35 metres.

Haugabreen in 2016 (photo: Pål Gran Kielland)

Vetle Supphellebreen advanced 16 metres this year. The overall trend is glacier retreat because of a warming climate. The snow accumulation is usually very large every winter, but apparently not enough to stop the glacier reduction over time. The advance is therefore interesting. We don’t have other data from this glacier, but the automatic weather station next to the Glacier Museum shows precipitation levels above normal in the period 2011-2015. Large amounts of snow may play a part in the explanation on the glacier advance.  Other factors that contribute to glacier formation and changes of glaciers are a complex interplay between temperature, latitude, altitude, relief, aspect and maritimity. Since we started to measure the glacier in 2011 it has advanced 2 metres.

By the front of Vetle Supphellebreen in 2016 (photo: Pål Gran Kielland).

The best season in 20 years

Pål Gran Kielland

In 2016 we've had 72 500 guests in our museum. That's the best numbers in 20 years and the second best in our 25 years history. During the two past seasons the visitor numbers has increased by 37 percent or around 20 000 guests.

Photo from the celebration of our 25 years anniversary where His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon of Norway payed us a visit.

According to the museum Director, Mr John Brekke, the increase is especially strong in the Asian market.

We would like to give a big thank you to all our guests this season and to everybody who has been cooperating with us to make 2016 a great year!

See you for a new season on April 1 in 2017!

Season opening with new design the 1st of April

Pål Gran Kielland

This winter we have been working hard to renew the main exhibition. Among the new stuff is a brand new interactive exhibiton about the global warming of our planet.

From April 1st you can experience The Norwegian Glacier Museum in a new way. The opening hours are 10:00 - 16:00 everyday.

A sneak peak of the new design...

We have, actually, allready started the season with groups visiting during Easter. 

Just to let you know; there is still snow on the ground outside the museum. But we have parking space available for all guests. So don't worry!

With a renewed exhibtion design, new colours and upgrades we wish you all welcome to visit us. This, alongside the allready spectacular movie about Jostedalsbreen Glacier and the Climate Change Exhibition, you can have an exciting and learnfull stay with us.

Welcome to The Norwegian Glacier Museum in 2016!

PS: this year we celebrate our 25 years anniversary.

Data series from glacier measurements under threat

Pål Gran Kielland

The measurements of annual front position changes has discovered that 2 of 4 glaciers may be difficult to survey properly in the future.

Since 2003 and 1992 the Bøyabreen and Supphellebreen glaciers in Fjærland, respectively, has been part of our glacier length change surveys. We are dependent on measuring directly at blue ice in the glacier fronts, but that has gradually been more difficult to do, due to glacier retreat and deposition of snow from avalanches. The part of the galcier we get data from is actually what looks like a pile of snow, the regenerated glacier, below the ice fall. The measurements are no longer representative for how the glaciers develop, so we got no data on these glaciers in 2015. Consequently, we still take photos every year to at least record the visual changes of the glaciers.

Bøyabreen in October 2015. Photo: Pål Gran Kielland.

But we still have two glaciers we can survey, the Vetle Supphellebreen Glacier and the Haugabreen Glacier. The former is located far up the Supphelledalen Valley. Here we measure directly on blue ice so there are no questions about this one, which advanced 8 metres in 2015. In total since 2011 it has retreated 14 metres. Since our data series only stretch back to 2011, we can't make conclusions on its behaviour concerning climate change just yet. But we know there exist data series from 1899 to 1944 where the glacier retreated over 400 metres. We also found an old picture which we can use to compare with today's situation. The pictorial evidence is clear; there is less ice today.

Vetle Supphellebreen Glacier in 1884 (photo: Steensrup, K.J.D.) and in 2015 (photo: Pål Gran Kielland).

The Haugabreen Glacier is not part of the Jostedalsbreen Ice Cap, as the three former mentioned glaciers, but it is connected to a seperate smaller ice cap called the Myklebustbreen Glacier. This glacier is located in Jølster. During the past year we found that Haugabreen Glacier retreated 7 metres. Not a big number, but in total 20 metres since we started the data series in 2013. As with Vetle Supphellebreen Glacier it is difficult to make conclusions regarding climate change, but it fits with the overall long time trend with a warmer climate and shrinking glaciers. Also here we have time series some years back in time, from the period 1933 to 1940. During those years the glacier retreated 237 metres. Additionally, we also hav an old picture which tells us about glacier retreat.

Haugabreen Glacier in the 1930s (photo: NGU) and in 2012 (photo: Pål Gran Kielland).

Now we are just entering the winter and the glaciers accumulation season. For the coming years they need large amounts of snow to withstand the increasing temperatures during melt season in the summer.

See the new Tunsbergdalsbreen Project website

Pål Gran Kielland

The Norwegian Glacier Museum is a proud partner in the Tunsbergdalsbreen Project.

This is an international project with the aim of making young people aware of climate change and the way glaciers react to these changes.

From the expedition in 2013. Photo: Julie Berg/Tunsbergdalsbreen Project.

Expedition to Tunsbergdalsbreen, the largets outlet glacier from Jostedalsbreen ice cap in Western Norway, is arranged annually. The project is a cooperation of The Norwegian Glacier Museum and the UK charity organisations Field Studies Council Blencathra Centre and Brathay Exploration Trust.

Visit the website!

High glacier melt in 2014

Pål Gran Kielland

The Norwegian Glacier Museum has done the annual front position measurements on four glaciers. 2014 turns out to be a bad year.

For many years, we have measured front position changes on glaciers in Fjærland. The first glacier measurement series started on Supphellebreen Glacier in 1992, while we added Bøyabreen Glacier in 2003. These glacier has been retreating over the years, so we started measuring two additional glaciers; Supphellebreen Glacier in 2011 and Haugabreen Glacier (in Jølster) last year.

Haugabreen Glacier October 2014. Photo: Pål Gran Kielland.

Haugabreen Glacier October 2014. Photo: Pål Gran Kielland.

The results from the measurements show the same melting trend:

Supphellebreen Glacier            -18 metres

Bøyabreen Glacier                    -65 metres

Vetle Supphellebreen Glacier  -31 metres

Haugabreen Glacier                  -13 metres

While the measurements of Vetle Supphellebreen Glacier and Haugabreen Glacier are done directly on active outlet glaciers, the measurements on Supphellebreen Glacier and Bøyabreen Glacier are done on so-called regenerated glaciers. These are glaciers which forms by ice and snow avalanches from the glacier and mountain above. They can change from year to year based on where the avalanches accumulates. In 2014 there is observed low avalanche activity, meaning less ice and snow masses added to the regenerated glaciers. Also, the melting season has been warmer than normal and they are situated at low elevations. Bøyabreen Glacier at 150 m.a.s.l. and Supphellebreen Glacier at 60 m.a.s.l. The result is glacier retreat, especially Bøyabreen Glacier with 65 metres while Supphellebreen Glacier retreated 18 metres.

Bøyabreen Glacier October 2014. Photo: Pål Gran Kielland.

Bøyabreen Glacier October 2014. Photo: Pål Gran Kielland.

The fronts of Haugabreen Glacier and Vetle Supphellebreen Glacier are situated at higher elevations than the regenerated glaciers and, hence, should stand the summer season melting better. Haugabreen Glacier (900 m.a.s.l.) retreated 13 metres, while Vetle Supphellebreen Glacier (750 m.a.s.l.) retreated 31 metres. These numbers tell us that the warm summer has been hard on the ice, also at higher elevations. This has been observed several places, for example in the area above where the ice fall starts on Bøyabreen (1200 m.a.s.l), where old blue ice is appearing from melting at 15-1600 m.a.s.l.

Bøyabreen Glacier ice fall September 2014. Photo: Pål Gran Kielland.

Bøyabreen Glacier ice fall September 2014. Photo: Pål Gran Kielland.

These glacier measurements are done on behalf of NVE (Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate).


The Round Bale Festival 2014

Pål Gran Kielland

The summer is almost over, but in the glacier village of Fjærland all the fun continues with the very distinctive Round Bale Festival. Here you will get art and culture mixed with feisty activities, in a place where round bale covered fields meets glaciers, rising mountains and a deep fjord.

Photo: The Round Bale Festival.

Photo: The Round Bale Festival.

The festival is an attraction by it self, with the Round Bale World Cup as the highlight!

For more information, see Rundballefestivalen on Facebook (if you dare to read Norwegian).

The museum opens April 1

Pål Gran Kielland

Welcome to a new season at the Norwegian Glacier Museum & Ulltveit-Moe Climate Centre.

We are open every day 10:00 - 16:00 from April 1.

This year we are presenting new exhibitions outdoors and re-newals in the museum. Follow us here on our website, or in soical medias like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.


The mammoths are popular with the kids! Photo: Gaute D. Bøyum, 2013.

Expedition: Explore glaciers in Norway!

Pål Gran Kielland

Always wanted to get on a glacier?  Or maybe a taste of glaciology has left you wanting more? Then this exciting expedition is for you!

From the expedition in 2013. Glaciers are cool!

From the expedition in 2013. Glaciers are cool!

Where? The Jostedalsbreen Ice Cap in Southern Norway, which is the largest glacier on the European continent.

Download the flier from Brathay Exploration Group Trust.

The expedition is suitable for ages 16-21 with good level of fitness.

New website

Pål Gran Kielland

Finally, we can present our new and modern website! It has a responsive design, which mean it works well on all units; computers, tablets or smartphones.

The website also has information in 8 other languages, besides Norwegian, English and Deutsch. Hopefully, we can satisfy a wide range of nationalities.


We thank GASTA in Sogndal for the cooperation in developing the new website!