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Russian Geographical Society scientists model ice cave to forecast Arctic climate change

Sub-zero temperatures are the best time to explore the island's waters, Bulat Mavlyudov noted

MOSCOW, June 18. /TASS/. Scientists of the Russian Geographical Society modeled a plan of an ice cave on the Franz Josef Land archipelago to forecast changes in the Arctic climate, the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Geography's senior fellow Bulat Mavlyudov told TASS.

The first stage of RGS's comprehensive expedition to the Franz Josef Land archipelago's Alexandra Land Island began in April. Glaciology and the science of natural ice are among the Society's permanent studies on archipelagoes, RGS's representative Natalia Belyakova said. On the Alexandra Land, scientists have studied the snow cover and glacial caves.

"This is necessary to understand further climate changes in the region. Caves "follow their dynamic lives" - they grow, melt, disappear, giving way to mountain valleys and rivers. At this stage, scientific work has been inside the Russian Arctic National Park - scientists have explored a glacial cave in the Lunnyi (Lunar) dome," the institute's expert said.

Sub-zero temperatures are the best time to explore the island's waters, he added.

"Scientists have used a GPS track to build the cave's plan. To that track they added points with registered distances to the walls and to the ceiling. Using these points, the scientists have built a detailed plan. Knowing how the glacier cave changes in time, scientists will be able to understand how the Lunnyi glacier dome is changing both from the surface and from the inside. The dynamics of those changes is an indicator of the Arctic climate," the geographer explained.

The Russian Geographical Society has been studying Arctic biomes since 2006. Together with academic institutions, the Society has been engaged in fundamental scientific research of Russia's northernmost territory. Scientists also assess its recreational potential.