August 22, 2016

Looking Inside a Glacier

Looking Inside a Glacier

Here we provide a visual look inside a glacier in the North Cascades of Washington.  Glaciers are not all the same, but the key internal ingredients in summer typically are in varied ratios: ice, meltwater, sediment and biologic material.  In this case there are torrents of water pouring through the interior of the glacier, generated at the surface the day we are filming.  We do measure the discharge and velocity …

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August 2, 2016

Glaciers in BAMS State of Climate 2015

Glaciers in BAMS State of Climate 2015

Decrease in Glacier Mass Balance uses measurements from 1980-2014 of the average mass balance for a group of North Cascade, WA glaciers. Mass balance is the annual budget for the glaciers: total snow accumulation minus total snow ablation. Not only are mass balances consistently negative, they are also continually decreasing. Glaciers have been one of the key and most iconic examples of the impact of global warming.   BAMS State of …

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July 31, 2016

Thirty-third Annual North Cascade Glacier Climate Project Field Season Underway

Thirty-third Annual North Cascade Glacier Climate Project Field Season Underway

Base Map of the region showing main study glaciers, produced by Ben Pelto. From President Reagan to President Obama each August since 1984 I have headed to the North Cascade Range of Washington to measure the response of glaciers to climate change.  Specifically we will measure the mass balance of nine glaciers, runoff from three glaciers and map the terminus change on 12 glaciers. The data is reported to the …

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July 28, 2016

Sater Glacier, Alaska Not Retaining Snowcover

Sater Glacier, Alaska Not Retaining Snowcover

2012 Google Earth Image. Purple arrows indicate areas where the margin is receding well above the lowest terminus. Sater Glacier is in the Okpilak River watershed of the Brooks Range, Alaska. It is named for John Sater an early geologist working in the Brooks Range and on the nearby McCall Glacier. Here we examine Landsat imagery from 1987-2016 to identify changes in the glacier. Matt Nolan, U. Alaska-Fairbanks,  has provided links to the …

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July 21, 2016

Sjögren Glacier Fast Flow, Fast Retreat, Antarctica

Sjögren Glacier Fast Flow, Fast Retreat, Antarctica

Sjögren Glacier comparison in Landsat images from 2001 and 2016, red dots indicate terminus position, Point A, B, C and D are in fixed locations.  Sjögren Glacier flows east from the northern Antarctic Peninsula and prior to the 1980’s was a principal feeder glacier to Prince Gustav Ice Shelf.  This 1600 square kilometer ice shelf disintegrated in the mid-1990’s and was gone in 1995 (Cook and Vaughan, 2010). Scambos et al (2014) …

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July 18, 2016

Chaupi Orko Glaciers, Bolivia Extensive Recession

Chaupi Orko Glaciers, Bolivia Extensive Recession

Landsat comparison of the Chaupi Orko Glaciers from 1988, 1999 and 2015.  Red arrows indicate 1988 terminus and yellow arrows the 2015 terminus location. Chaupi Orko is a 6044 m Andean peak in the Cordillera Apolobamba on the Peru-Bolivia border with glaciers radiating from it summit.  Here we examine a pair of glaciers on the southern side of the mountain that drain into Laguna Suches, which is split by the …

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July 12, 2016

Rainbow Glacier Not Fading Away, Glacier National Park

Rainbow Glacier Not Fading Away, Glacier National Park

Rainbow Glacier is the third largest of the 25 remaining glaciers in Glacier National Park occupying an east facing cirque between 2650 m and 2330 m. The glacier drains into Quartz Lake a key lake for bull trout in GNP, which are threatened by both invasive lake trout and climate change (Jones et al, 2013).  The National Park Serice and USGS have been established a glacier monitoring program that focuses …

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July 7, 2016

Lamplugh Glacier Recent Behavior and Landslide Source Area, Alaska

Lamplugh Glacier Recent Behavior and Landslide Source Area, Alaska

Landsat image comparison of Lamplugh Glacier 1985, 2013, 2015 and 2016.  The orange arrows indicate extensive surface moraine deposits.  purple arrows the region below the slope where landslide was triggered.  Point B trigger location and Point A a nearby cloud free location in each image. A recent large landslide onto Lamplight Glacier on June 28, 2016 has been reported by KHNS.  The landslide was triggered on the north slope of …

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July 4, 2016

McBride Glacier Increased Retreat and Harbor Seals, Glacier Bay, Alaska

McBride Glacier Increased Retreat and Harbor Seals, Glacier Bay, Alaska

McBride Glacier (M), its secondary terminus (Ms), MCbride Inelt (MI) and Riggs Glacier (R) in Landsat image comparison from 1985 and 2015.  The red arrows indicate the 1985 terminus location and the yellow arrows the 2015 terminus location.  Main terminus 4.4 km retreat, secondary terminus 2.7 km retreat. McBride Glacier was part of the Muir Glacier complex in Glacier Bay, Alaska, until the 1960’s when it separated from Muir and adjacent …

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June 29, 2016

Conducting Long Term Annual Glacier Monitoring

Conducting Long Term Annual Glacier Monitoring

Easton Glacier in 1990, 2003 and 2015 from same location. Below Painting by Jill Pelto of crevasse assessment using a camline. This is the story of how you develop and conduct a long term glacier monitoring program.  We have been monitoring the annual mass balance of Easton Glacier on Mount Baker, a stratovolcano in the North Cascade Range, Washington since 1990.  This is one of nine glaciers we are continuing to …

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