Climate change: Five 'new islands' revealed as Arctic ice melts

Last updated at 13:45
Satellite-view-of-Franz-Josef-Land.Getty Images

An expedition to the Arctic by the Russian navy has mapped five small islands discovered in the sea north of Siberia.

The islands in the Kara Sea were always there but were previously hidden beneath a glacier.

Marina Migunova was the first to spot the islands when she was a student looking at satellite images of the area in 2016 at a Russian naval university.

The islands were revealed as rising sea temperatures caused by climate change melted the glacier that covered them, exposing landforms underneath.

Marina Migunova, file picGumrf.ru
Marina Migunova, who discovered the islands by studying satellite images in 2016, is now a scientist in the Russian navy

The group of islands in the Franz Josef Land archipelago are tiny - ranging in size from 900 sq metre (roughly an eighth of a football pitch) to 54,500 square metres (around seven and a half football pitches).

The archipelago, in the far north of Russia, is made up of around 192 islands. It is extremely remote with no native inhabitants - military personnel are the only people based there.

Glacier-in-Franz-Josef-Land.Getty Images
Glaciers like this are common in Franz Josef Land

Marina's discovery was confirmed by Russian navy hydrographers on 27 August.

Hydrography is the science that measures and describes the physical features of areas of water.

Ship-travelling-to-Franz-Josef-LandGetty Images

Marina and the team celebrated by building a cairn (a mound of rough stones as a landmark) on one of the islands. They left a note about their discovery, and a CD of their photographs within the cairn.

These aren't the only new islands to be discovered. Between 2015 and 2018, Northern Fleet hydrographers have come across more than 30 islands, capes and bays in the Franz Josef Land archipelago.

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