The scientists of the Faculty of Geology and Geography of Tomsk State University have found that due to global warming, the Left Aktru Glacier in Altai lost 107 cm of its height in 2020. The reason is the rise in temperatures, which have surpassed record values detected by the field station in the Aktru mountain-glacial basin during more than 60 years of its operation.
According to the World Meteorological Organization, the period from 2011 to 2020 was the warmest decade in the history of meteorological observations, which have been regularly conducted since 1891. Compared to the pre-industrial period, the air temperature in 2020 has already increased by 1.2 degrees.
"With the active melting of glaciers, the flow of water in mountain rivers increases, but the gradual depletion of their volume will be accompanied by a sharp decrease in the water content of the rivers and the consequences for the economy of the region. Another danger during the melting of the permafrost in the mountains is associated with the appearance of catastrophic floods caused by dam failures of moraine-dammed lakes, which is very relevant for the Aktru mountain-glacial basin," said Alexander Erofeev, head of the glacioclimatology laboratory of the Faculty of Geology and Geography of Tomsk State University, a member of the Tomsk Branch of the RGS.
Until recently, there were only two glaciers left in Russia, data on the state of which was collected on a continuous basis. Both are located in the Caucasus. Regular measurements on the territory of North Asia were not conducted at all. Constant observations of the Altai glaciers stopped in the 1990s, and intermittent ones in 2012, before they were resumed in 2019.