Arctic shock: Melting ice has revealed FIVE new islands | Science | News

An expedition of the Arctic from the Russian naval fleet in August and September revealed the amazing discovery. Russian officials had believed that the islands, which were found in the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, northwest of the Russian mainland, were part of the Vylki glacier. However, as the ice melted, experts realised they were actually five separate islands, ranging in size from 900 to 54,500 square metres – more than seven times the size of an average football pitch.

Expedition leader Aleksandr Moiseyev told state-run news agency TASS: “Basically, this discovery is associated with the melting of ice.

“Previously these were glaciers, but the melting of ice led to the islands emerging.

“Melting, collapse and temperature changes led to these islands being uncovered.”

Whether the islands will last long is a different matter. As glaciers recede, they can destabilise the land mass which can destabilise earth.

Captain First Class Alexei Kornis, the head of the Northern Fleet Hydrographic Service, told the Russian site Arctic: “Today, it is difficult to reach any conclusions about their importance and life span.”

However, despite being relatively fresh land, scientists have said animals and plant life have already taken to it, with evidence of algae and plants, as well as signs that it has become a feeding ground.

Mr Kornis added: “We’ve found the remains of a seal torn up by a bear. So, if all of this manages to take root, the islands will survive.”

Scientists warn the newly discovered islands should not come as a surprise and this is a symptom of global warming.

READ MORE: Arctic discovery: How ‘incredible’ letter exposed secrets of lost ship

Every year, the Arctic sea ice expands in the winter and then shrinks in the summer.

However, this year it shrank more than usual during the summer months, and NASA has said it is the joint second lowest since records began in 1978.

The sea ice cap shrank to 4.15 million square kilometres (1.60 million square miles) in 2019, matching the second lowest records set in 2007 and again in 2016.

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