, 40:575 | Cite as

Current State of the Altai Glaciers (Russia) and Trends Over the Period of Instrumental Observations 1952–2008

  • Yuriy Narozhniy
  • Valeriy ZemtsovEmail author


Results of research into climate and glacier dynamics in the Altai Mountains (Russia) over the period of instrumental observations (1952–2008) are presented in this article. About 1030 glaciers with a total area of 805 km2 and volume of 42.5 km3 have been recorded in the Altai Region. The average summer air temperature in different regions of the Altai has increased during the study period from about 0.2°C (Aktru) to 1.1°C (Akkem). The annual atmospheric precipitation rate has also increased, by 8–10%. Since 1952, the glacier area in different regions of the Altai has decreased by 9–27%, and volume by 12–24%. By 2008, as a result of degradation, the total number of glaciers was 953 with an area of 724 km2 and volume of 38 km3.


Mountain glaciers Glacier inventory Glacier retreat Glacier mass balance Altai 



The authors would like to acknowledge the contribution of all the colleagues from Tomsk State University, Russia, who conducted observations and research work in the Altai Mountains during the study period, and thanks also to Professor Terry Callaghan for his initiative to prepare a paper on the Altai glaciers and invaluable help and guidance in the whole process of manuscript preparation. The constructive and critical comments of two anonymous reviewers greatly improved the quality of this article.


  1. Catalogue of glaciers of the USSR. 1978. V.15, edition 1. GIMIZ, Leningrad (in Russian).Google Scholar
  2. FOG Fluctuations of glaciers. IAHS-UNESCO. Paris. 1967. Vol. 1 (1959–1965), 52 pp; 1973. Vol. 2 (1965–1970), 357 pp; 1977. Vol. 3 (1970–1975), 269 pp; 1985. Vol. 4 (1975–1980), 265 pp; 1988. Vol. 5 (1980–1985), 290 pp; 1993. Vol. 6 (1985–1990), 322 pp; Zurich: 1998. Vol. 7 (1990–1995), 296 pp; 2005. Vol. 8 (1995–2000), 288 pp.Google Scholar
  3. Galakhov V.P., and A.N. Nazarov. 2008. Chronology of the warm period of the second half of Holocene (on a basis of glacial deposits dating). Barnaul: Izd-vo Azbuka (in Russian).Google Scholar
  4. MBB Glacier Mass Balance Bulletin. IAHS (ICSI)-UNEP-UNESCO. Zurich: 1991. N 1 (1988–1989), 70 pp; 1993. N 2 (1990–1991), 74 pp; 1994. N 3 (1992–1993), 80 pp; 1996. N 4 (1994–1995), 90 pp; 1998. N 5 (1996–1997), 96 pp; 2001. N 6 (1998–1999), 93 pp; 2003. N 7 (2000–2001), 87 pp; 2005. N 8 (2002–2003), 100 pp; 2007. N 9 (2004–2005), 100 pp; 2009. N 10 (2006–2007), 96 pp.Google Scholar
  5. Narozhniy, Yu.K. 2001. Resource assessment and trends in glacial changes in Aktru basin (Altay) for the last 150 years. Materials of Glaciological Research 90: 117–125 (in Russian, English summary).Google Scholar
  6. Narozhniy Yu.K., and S.A. Nikitin. 2003. Recent glaciation of Altay at the beginning of 21st century. Materials of Glaciological Research 95: 93–101 (in Russian, English summary).Google Scholar
  7. Narozhniy Yu.K., S.A. Nikitin, V.V. Paromov, and A.V. Osipov. 2002. Sofiysky glacier (Altay): Dynamics, glacial-hydroclimatic regime and ice reserves distribution. Materials of Glaciological Research 93: 152–164 (in Russian, English summary).Google Scholar
  8. Narozhniy Yu.K., S.A. Nikitin, and P.S. Borodavko. 2006. Glaciers of the Belukha Mountain knot (Altay): Mass exchange, dynamics, and ice resources distribution. Materials of Glaciological Research 101: 117–127 (in Russian, English summary).Google Scholar
  9. Nosenko, G.A., T.E. Khromova, A.Ya. Muraviev, Yu.K. Narozhniy, and M.V. Shakhgedanova. 2010. Application of historical data and modern space images for estimation of glacier size changes in the Altai. Ice and snow 2: 19–24 (in Russian, English summary).Google Scholar
  10. Solomina, O.N. 1999. Mountainous glaciation of Northern Eurasia in Holocene. Moscow, Nauchniy Mir. (in Russian, English summary).Google Scholar
  11. Tronov, B.V. 1925. Catalogue of Altai glaciers. Proceedings of Russian Geographical Society 57: 107–159 (in Russian).Google Scholar
  12. Tronov, M.V. 1949. Sketches on the Altai glaciation. Moscow: Geografgiz (in Russian).Google Scholar
  13. World Atlas of Snow and Ice Resources. 1997. Moscow: Russian Academy of Sciences (in Russian, English summary).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Laboratory of Glacioclimatology, Tomsk State UniversityTomskRussia
  2. 2.Hydrology Department, Faculty of Geology and GeographyTomsk State UniversityTomskRussia

Personalised recommendations