Arctic Research Center to send glaciological expedition to IGAN glacier
© RIA Novosti. Denis Abramov

Arctic Research Center to send glaciological expedition to IGAN glacier

Scientists from the Arctic Research Center and the Institute of Geography at the Russian Academy of Sciences will conduct comprehensive research on the IGAN glacier, which will provide data on ongoing climate changes and the chemical composition of the atmosphere.

For 10 days, the specialists will conduct geophysical and glaciological studies, including radar measurements of the thickness of ice and snow cover, balance observations on the glacier and drilling operations with ice core sampling.

For the first time this year, the glacier drilling will involve full core sampling. An analysis of the obtained ice samples will make it possible to identify long-term trends in climate change in this region. The samples will also be used to study changes in the chemical composition of the atmosphere and to determine the degree and possible sources of its pollution.

In today’s climatic conditions, the number of places suitable for obtaining paleoclimatic information in the Russian Arctic is decreasing. But there is still a potential drilling point – the IGAN glacier in the Polar Urals. Despite the reduction in the glacier size, recent studies have shown that a significant thickness of ice remains in the accumulation zone.

The IGAN glacier is the largest glacier in the Polar Urals. It was discovered by Soviet glaciologist Leonid Dolgushin 70 years ago. Scientists carried out year-round research on the glacier until 1981. The resumption of regular monitoring in the Polar Urals will allow scientists to track glacier melting under the influence of a changing climate, and to predict possible natural hazards.

“The samples taken will allow us to determine the ice age and answer the question about the conditions of the existence of Polar Urals glaciers in the interglacial period,” said Alexander Shein, leading researcher of the Cryosphere Sector of the Arctic Research Center.

Such scientific monitoring is necessary amid the changing climate and the degradation of glaciers, as well as due to the active development of mountain tourism and the economic activities of the small-numbered indigenous peoples of the North.

Based on the results of field and laboratory studies, data will be obtained on climate change, the level of atmospheric pollution, the accumulation of solid particles in the region, as well as on the IGAN glacier’s regime, dynamics and mass balance.