Climate and energy transition

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Ph.d-prosjekt 2021

2021 - From Black Gold to the Green Battery? The Future of Norwegian glaciers, hydropower potential, and societal constraints

Consequences of glacier melt for society. Glaciers worldwide are melting. This Ph.D. project aims to further our understanding of what this will mean for society, energy supply and nature.

Norddalen Dam

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We structure our work as a case study on the Folgefonna glacier in western Norway. Its future changes and hydropower potential will be assessed by detailed numerical models. Then, we will present these results to elected representatives in order to evaluate the political willingness for hydropower expansion in Norway. The project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the Departments of Comparative Politics and Earth Science. 

The social science component of the project is based on survey experiments. The first experiment has been finalized and will be included in the 2022 survey of the Panel of Elected Representatives. No modeling results are available at this early stage of the project. Instead, we investigate how presenting politicians with more general scientific data on glacier melt affects their decisions.

On the natural science part of the project, we are working with the surface mass balance (SMB) model that will be used to simulate the upper part of Folgefonna. To make a realistic model of the glacier, it is crucial to obtain high quality climate data for the region. Therefore, we are currently working on preparing output from regional climate models as well as observed meteorological data to drive the SMB model.