Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 1229–1247 | Cite as

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

  • Tatiana KhromovaEmail author
  • Gennady Nosenko
  • Stanislav Nikitin
  • Anton Muraviev
  • Valeria Popova
  • Ludmila Chernova
  • Vera Kidyaeva


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.


Mountain glaciers Climate change Russia Glacier changes Hazardous processes 



The paper includes the results obtained within the framework of the research project no. 0148-2014-0007 of the Research Plan of the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Basic Reseach Program of the Presidium Russian Academy of Sciences and the research projects supported by the Russian Geographical Society (no. 05/2017/RGS-RFBR) and Russian Foundation for Basic Research (no. 17-55-80107). We would like to thank Dr. Alexei Grachev for the help with translation.

Supplementary material

10113_2018_1446_MOESM1_ESM.doc (176 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 175 kb)


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of GeographyRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Department of GeographyLomonosov State UniversityMoscowRussia

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