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Glacial retreat: Historical evidence of climate change in Mongolia

June 2013

This research analyses glacial retreat in the Turgen Mountains, northwestern Mongolia

Glacial retreat: Historical evidence of climate change in Mongolia 

Based on research by Ulrich Kamp, Kevin G. McManigal, Avirmed Dashtseren and Michael Walther

Read more about this research.

This research analyses glacial retreat in the Turgen Mountains, northwestern Mongolia. Located around 80 km south of the Russian border, the area was visited by a Royal Geographical Society expedition in 1910. This expedition involved surveying and photography of the glaciers in the area.

100 years later, an expedition returned to the Turgen Mountains in 2010. The expedition was led by the University of Montana and involved collaboration with the Mongolian Academy of Sciences and the National University of Mongolia. Retracing sections of the original expedition, the 2010 expedition sought to take photographs from the same locations and angles as those taken in 1910. These repeated photographs were used to help understand how the glacial system has changed over the last century.


AQA – AS level, unit 1 (Cold environments) Could be used to support teaching of glaciers as systems. Illustrates the role of a warming climate in creating a negative glacial balance

Edexcel – AS level, unit 1 (Climate change and its causes) Provides a detailed explanation of how historical records of retreating glaciers can be used as medium-term evidence of climate change

OCR – AS level, unit F761 (Cold environments) Shows how cold environments change over time as a result of climatic factors

WJEC – AS level, unit G1 (Investigating climate change) Gives a case study of a retreating glacier, allowing students to assess medium-term evidence for climate change

In the Members' Area:

  • The need to understand glacial retreat
  • Case study: Turgen Mountains, Mongolia
  • Improving on previous research
  • Data sources
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Glossary
  • Activity

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