August 29, 2016
Comparison of glaciers terminating in Lednikovoye Lake in central Svalbard in 2000 and 2016. Red arrow is the 2000 terminus location and yellow arrows the 2016 terminus location.
Lednikovoye Lake in central Novaya Zemlya has four glaciers terminating in it. Here we examine the two unnamed glaciers that discharge into the northwest portion of the lake. The glaciers are retreating like all tidewater glaciers in northern Novaya Zemlya, though they are not specifically tidewater (LEGOS, 2006). LEGOS (2006) identified a 2.7 square kilometer reduction in area of the two glaciers from 1990-2000. Carr et al (2014) identified an average retreat rate of 52 meters/year for tidewater glaciers on Novaya Zemlya from 1992 to 2010 and 5 meters/year for land terminating glaciers.Here we use Landsat images to examine changes from 1999 to 2016.
In 1999 and 2000 the western Lednikovoye Glacier ended on an island, the eastern Lednikovoye Glacier extended past the exit of a glacier filled valley entering from the east. By 2016 the western terminus had retreated 800 meters from the newly developed island. The eastern terminus had retreated a similar amount now ending near the center of the valley entering on the east. The glacier in that eastern valley has retreated 600 m from 1999 to 2016. The snowline in 2000 and 2016 is at ~500 m, with a significant remaining accumulation zone. There is limited upglacier thinning suggesting that retreat will not become rapid. The reduced rate of retreat of the Lednikovoye Glacier’s versus tidewater glacier of Novaya Zemlya suggests the importance of both sea ice reduction and sea surface temperature increase to the retreat rate of the latter such as Krayniy Glacier, Tasija Glacier and Chernysheva Glacier.