Ground temperature variability on a glacier foreland, Storbreen, Jotunheimen, Norway

Colin Thorn, Robert Darmody, Charles Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two-years of ground temperatures (10 cm and 50 cm depths) from the foreland of Storbreen in the Jotunheimen Mountains of Norway demonstrate that seasonal and annual ground temperature differences induced by microtopographic position at a constant elevation are comparable to differences stemming from ∼ 100 m to ∼ 300 m in elevation. Between ∼ 1460 m a.s.l. and ∼ 1150 m a.s.l., mean annual lapse rates calculated for soil depths of 10 cm were≤0.8°C per100m beneath tundra, moraine crests, and moraine proximal base positions, each of which was calculated independently. Seasonal lapse rates were often larger,≥1.0°C per 100m in both summer and winter. The calculated ground temperature lapse rates compare favorably with those already reported in the literature for the region. Categorical data in the form of Thawed, Freeze-Thaw, Isothermal, and Frozen Days also showed considerable variability by elevation and microtopographic position. Variability in growing conditions was examined by calculating Thawing Degree Days and Growing Degree Days. These values sometimes, but not always, mimic ground temperature patterns. Although no wintertime field observations are available, the depth and duration of seasonal snow cover appears to be the primary source of variability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-302
Number of pages13
JournalNorsk Geografisk Tidsskrift
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Elevation
  • Microtopography
  • Norway
  • Soil temperature regimes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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