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Changes in the mountain glaciers of continental Russia during the twentieth to twenty-first centuries

Khromova, Tatiana, Nosenko, Gennady, Nikitin, Stanislav, Muraviev, Anton, Popova, Valeria, Chernova, Ludmila, Kidyaeva, Vera
Regional environmental change 2019 v.19 no.5 pp. 1229-1247
air temperature, climatic factors, disasters, glaciers, highlands, landscapes, mountains, remote sensing, risk, topographic maps, Russia
Mountain glaciers currently exist in 18 mountainous regions of the continental part of Russia. They occupy a total area of about 3480 km². Almost all the glaciers in these mountainous areas have receded over the past few decades. The process of glacier retreat leads to landscape change in the glacier zone and can also lead to increased risks of hazards and natural disasters. The existing research on the current state of glaciers and their changes helps us to understand the mechanisms of the changes and to improve forecasts and adaptation strategies. This article presents a review of mountain glacier change estimates in continental Russia over the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The sources for the estimates include satellite imagery, topographic maps, field research results, and scientific publications. The results of our analysis demonstrate that changes in the main climatic factors, i.e., air temperature and precipitation, determine the general trend in glacier changes in Russia’s mountainous regions. Glacier reductions for the second part of twentieth century range from 10.6% (Kamchatka) to 69% (the Koryak Highlands). The differences in the rate and the direction of glacier changes depend on local orographic and climatic features.