Accelerating Glacier Ice Loss in the Russian Arctic from Current Atmospheric and Oceanic Warming

Journal of Geophysical Research, June 30

Glaciers across the Russian Arctic are losing accelerating amounts of ice each year, especially in the western regions; where the Novaya Zemlya glaciers decreased at rates five times that of regions further east between 2010 and 2018. Novaya Zemlya currently dominates sea level rise in the Barents and Kara Seas, releasing a total 9.7 gigatons every year. Along the coastal edge of these glaciers, interactions between sea ice loss and surface melt have dramatically thinned their lower edges, increasing total annual ice loss. However, ocean and atmospheric warming are also pushing warmer Atlantic Ocean waters further east, into the seas surrounding Severnaya Zemlya. These warmer waters, combined with higher atmospheric temperatures appear to be the key factor driving ice loss in these pivotal regions of the Arctic.