Over the past 23 thousand years, the level of the world’s ocean only by melting glaciers rose by 4.6 meters. The increase of this indicator by another two meters will be catastrophic for millions of people. The total disappearance of ice in the Arctic, and this, according to some estimates, will lead to an increase in the sea level at once by seven to eight meters, will be disastrous for the whole planet. But what will happen with Russia?
How many ice in the Arctic?
About 10 percent of the planet’s ice is concentrated in the Arctic. However, its number in the region is constantly changing. It depends on the season: in summer the ice cap melts, in winter it recovers, and from climatic changes. At the same time, both processes are naturally interrelated.
In February 2017, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) determined that the volume of sea ice in the Arctic is 13.38 million square kilometers, which is 260,000 less than in January 2016. The reason for its reduction, WMO specialists called the increase in global temperatures.
After the summer of 2017, the recovery of ice in winter was less active, in this regard, the area of the ice cap in the Arctic, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), was 1.6 million square kilometers less than the average for the past 20 years – only 4.6 million.
Reducing the area of ice in the region for the fourth year in a row and, assure NASA, reaches record levels. At the same time, the minimum value was observed in 2012, when the size of the ice cap decreased to 3.41 million square kilometers altogether. Fortunately, after this the unusually cold summer of 2013 followed and the volume of the Arctic ice cover increased by one third.
When will the North Ocean cease to be Arctic?
According to the satellite data of the Office, the level of the world’s ocean rises by about three millimeters per year, and the last 25 years – by seven centimeters. However, scientists are convinced that the process of melting ice will eventually accelerate and by the end of the century the world ocean level will grow by 60-80 centimeters. More pessimistic views are held by the researchers of the World Wildlife Fund: there are waiting for more than a meter increase. In the Potsdam Institute of Climate Studies, and in general, they forecast growth of 130 centimeters. And partly the recent assessments coincide with the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations.
In the Arctic as a result of melting ice, perennial ice more than five meters thick has practically disappeared, the Norwegian Polar Institute reported. According to scientists, their share in the beginning of 2010 decreased from 28 to 6 percent.
The situation is aggravated by the fact that on certain winter days the temperature rises to the values at which melting of ice occurs. All this suggests that on a planetary scale until the time when there are no ice left in the Arctic Ocean, it is not far off. This will lead to the fact that the level of the world’s ocean will rise, according to some estimates, by seven to eight meters.
Will Russia go to the bottom?
The first results of melting ice in the Arctic residents of northern regions of Russia can already notice with the naked eye. For example, the shores of the East Siberian and Chukchi seas have long been cleared of the ice edge. However, if the water level increases by several meters, then this residents of coastal areas will not have much time to enjoy.
With the consequences of the disappearance of northern ice in the first place will have to fight the coastal cities, for example, St. Petersburg and Astrakhan. Makhachkala and Taganrog, which are not so high in relation to the sea level, will not be as good either. Experts believe that as a result of the complete melting of ice on the Earth – and it will lead to an increase in the level of the world’s ocean by 70 meters – these cities will completely go under water. However, an increase of seven meters is capable of turning many settlements into Russian Venice.
In addition, between Russia and Europe, a huge sea can arise – as a result of the merger of the Baltic, Kara, Caspian and Black Seas. However, the probability of its formation due to melting of Arctic ice alone is small. At the same time, the water will flood the Lower Kenyan lowland, in which the Kaliningrad region is located, and the southern part of the Caspian lowland. Then it will be difficult for cities along the banks of the Volga on the stretch from Volgograd to the confluence of the river in the Caspian Sea.
Submerged and White Sea lowland, located in north-west Russia in Karelia. The landscape in the North will also change. So, probably an increase in the sea area of the Lapetians and the East Siberian Sea due to the territories of the North Siberian and Yano-Indigirskaya lowlands.
But in Central Russia and the Far East, an increase in the ocean level as a result of melting ice in the Arctic will not be affected. East-European and West-Siberian Plains, as well as the Central Russian Upland are above the sea at least 100 meters, so they do not even fear the disappearance of the entire ice cover of the earth. Not threatened with flooding and the Urals. The Crimea and the Krasnodar Territory are waiting for minimal consequences.
How to prevent a threat?
Despite the fact that for Russia the consequences of melting ice will not be as devastating as for the Netherlands or Australia, rising ocean levels will still make it possible to solve the problem of resettlement of approximately 8 million people from flooded areas.
Fortunately, until the critical moment there is time: according to experts, the existing system of locks will allow to sustain an increase in the indicator by 60-80 centimeters. But to think about taking the necessary measures – to build new water protection facilities or to build special houses – is still worth it.
At the same time, one can hope that not all the menacing forecasts of researchers will come true. After all, scientists themselves emphasize that for reliability, long-term estimates lose estimates for 20-25 years.