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Changes in area and geodetic mass balance of small glaciers, Polar Urals, Russia, 1950–2008

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Changes in area of 30 small glaciers (mostly <1 km2) in the northern Polar Urals (67.5–68.25 °N) between 1953 and 2000 were assessed using historic aerial photography from 1953 and 1960, ASTER and panchromatic Landsat ETM+ imagery from 2000, and data from 1981 and 2008 terrestrial surveys. Changes in volume and geodetic mass balance of IGAN and Obruchev glaciers were calculated using data from terrestrial surveys in 1963 and 2008. In total, glacier area declined by 22.3 ± 3.9% in the 1953/60–2000 period. The areas of individual glaciers decreased by 4–46%. Surfaces of Obruchev and IGAN glaciers lowered by 22.5 ± 1.7 m and 14.9 ± 2.1 m. Over 45 years, geodetic mass balances of Obruchev and IGAN glaciers were –20.66 ± 2.91 and –13.54 ± 2.57 m w.e. respectively. Glacier shrinkage in the Polar Urals is related to a summer warming of 1 °C between 1953–81 and 1981–2008 and its rates are consistent with other regions of northern Asia but are higher than in Scandinavia. While glacier shrinkage intensified in the 1981–2000 period relative to 1953–81, increasing winter precipitation and shading effects slowed glacier wastage in 2000–08.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3189/2012JoG11J233

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.
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