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29 July 2022

NORTH CASCADE GLACIER CLIMATE PROJECT 2022-39th Annual Field Program

Mount Baker camp for Rainbow and Sholes Glacier (Illustration by Megan Pelto) Science Director: Mauri S. Pelto, [email protected] Art Director: Jill Pelto, [email protected] 2022 Field Season: For the 39th consecutive summer we are heading into the field to measure and communicate the impact of climate change on North Cascade glaciers. We will complete detailed measurements on 10 glaciers, three of which are part of the World Glacier Monitoring Service reference glacier network …

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26 July 2022

Deming Glacier Icefall Deceleration 2017-2022 Driven by Mass Balance Loss

Deming Glacier velocity from NASA MEaSUREs ITS_Live at four locations from below icefall at blue X to above icefall at red X. There is not a significant change in velocity above the icefall (red X), but significant deceleration in the icefall and below the icefall.  The Deming Glacier drains the southwest side of the summit of Mount Baker a stratovolcano in the North Cascades of Washington, with a massive icefall …

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29 November 2021

How A Glacier Disappears- Lewis, Milk Lake and Colonial Glacier North Cascade Range?

Colonial Glacier in late summer false color Sentinel 2 images from 2019, 2020 and 2021. Yellow arrow indicates step that calves in 2020. Notice the ~10% of snowcover (bright white) remaining on glacier surface with more melt to come. An alpine glacier disappears when it no longer has a persistent accumulation zone (Pelto, 2010). When this occurs the glacier is typically limited in size, but still can have significant ice …

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12 October 2021

Sholes Glacier, WA and a Cascade of Ologies

Watercolor painting of Sholes Glacier. The small figure is at the current terminus of the glacier, and the photo that inspired this painting was taken from where the glacier used to end about 35 years prior. By Jill Pelto Sholes Glacier is on the northeast flank of Mount Baker, WA.  We have spent the last 32 years completing detailed measurments on this glacier that has revealed a story of glacier …

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22 August 2021

A Tale of Two Glaciers Columbia and Easton Glacier 2021

Terminus of Columbia Glacier on left with 1984 terminus location noted.  Observe the avalanche fans (A) and the relatively high snowcover on 8-2-2021.  At right is Easton Glacier on 8-11-2021 with the location of the 1990 terminus indicated, 440 m of retreat to the 2021 terminus position. The glacier has only 38% snowcover at this time, which is better illustrated below. Columbia and Easton Glacier in the North Cascade Range …

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27 July 2021

NORTH CASCADE GLACIER CLIMATE PROJECT 2021 -38th Annual Field Program

A few measures of what it takes to execute a field monitoring program of glaciers for 37 years, with no helicopter support (Illustration by Megan Pelto). 2021 Field Season: For the 38th consecutive summer we are heading into the field later this week to measure the impact of climate change on North Cascade glaciers. We will complete detailed measurements on 10 glaciers, three of which are part of the World …

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29 June 2021

Pacific Northwest June 2021 Heat Wave Current and Enduring Glacier Impact

Streamflow observation site below Sholes Glacier on August 6, 2015.  We have measured flow at this site for 30 years, the last 10 years in conjunction with the Nooksack Indian Tribe (Grah and Beaulieu, 2013; Pelto, 2015). The exceptional record breaking Pacific Northwest heat wave of June 2021 had an impact on snow melt both on and off glaciers in the North Cascade Range of Washington and consequently on alpine …

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28 May 2021

Vista Glacier, Glacier Peak WA Retreat and Snow Line Rise

Vista Glacier in 1998 and 2016 Digital Globe images with the the 1984 terminus red arrow and 2015 terminus yellow arrow, Point A is the rock seen below the glacier in 1994 image below and Point B is where the advance moraine reached the valley bottom. Vista Glacier is a valley glacier flowing down the northeast side of Glacier Peak (Dakobed) that drains into the Suiattle River. The glacier begins …

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30 March 2021

Art and Science on the Easton Glacier: Reflections from the NCGCP 2020 Field Season

By: Cal Waichler, Jill Pelto, and Mariama Dryak.  It is the evening of Aug. 9th, 2020 and six of us are camped near the terminus of Easton Glacier. The sun has dropped below the moraine ridge above camp and a chilly breeze has forced us to put on layers. We are enjoying dinner cooked on our camp stoves, discussing what we observed on the ice today.  The toll of climate …

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31 August 2020

North Cascade Glacier Climate Project Observations 2020, 37th Field Season

The North Cascade Glacier Climate Project 2020 field season was our 37th consecutive year of glacier observations.  The field team consisted of Cal Waichler, Mariama Dryak, Jill Pelto and Mauri Pelto.  Each team member has studied glaciers on more than one continent and is passionate about science communication, using either art, videography or writing. Mauri Pelto, Jill Pelto, Cal Waichler and Mariama Dryak from left to right on Easton Glacier …

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28 July 2020

NORTH CASCADE GLACIER CLIMATE PROJECT 2020-37th Annual Field Program

Field season images from 2019 indicating crevasse stratigraphy, annotated by Clara Deck. Director: Mauri S. Pelto, [email protected] College Field Artist & Scientist: Jill Pelto, [email protected] Who we are? NCGCP was founded in 1983 to identify the response of North Cascade glaciers to regional climate change, particularly changes in mass balance, glacier runoff and terminus behavior.   NCGCP is a field project that has a broader interdisciplinary scope and examines more glaciers than any …

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9 April 2020

Rainbow Glacier Fieldwork 8-7-2018

The video is of a single day of field work on Rainbow Glacier on 8-7-2018.  This was our 702nd day of fieldwork during the project that began in 1984.  On this day the field team consisted of Mariama Dryak, Erin McConnell, Jill Pelto and Mauri Pelto. Rainbow Glacier is a valley glacier on the northeast flank of Mount Baker, a stratovolcano and the highest mountain in the North Cascade Range, …

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29 August 2019

North Cascade Glacier Climate Project 2019, 36th Annual Assessment

 The summer of 2019 found the North Cascade Glacier Climate Project in the field for the 36th consecutive summer monitoring the response of North Cascade glaciers to climate change.  This long term monitoring program was initiated partly in response to a challenge in 1983 from Stephen Schneider to begin monitoring glacier systems before and as climate change became a dominant variable in their behavior. The field team was comprised …

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29 July 2019

36th Annual North Cascade Glacier Climate Project Field Season Begins

Fieldwork includes terminus surveys, glacier runoff measurement and mass balance measurements Field Season Begins August 1 Who we are? The North Cascade Glacier Climate Project (NCGCP) was founded in 1983 to identify the response of North Cascade glaciers to regional climate change, particularly changes in mass balance, glacier runoff and terminus behavior.   This was prompted by the  National Academy of Sciences listing this as a high priority and a personal …

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20 April 2019

North Cascade 2019 Winter Accumulation Assessment

April 1 winter accumulation at the longer term North Cascade SNOTEL stations (Fish Lake, Lyman Lake, Park Creek, Rainy Pass, Stampede Pass and Stevens Pass). For North Cascade glaciers the accumulation season provides that layer of snow, that must then last through the melt season.  A thin layer sets the glaciers up for a mass balance loss, much like a bear with a limited fat layer would lose more mass …

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18 February 2019

Boulder Glacier, Mount Baker Washington Retreat 1980-2018

Boulder Glacier terminus position 1980-2018 as measured in the field. Note Lahar path that descends from Sherman Crater.  Lahars have also occurred subglacially during our field observations. Boulder Glacier flows down the east side of Mount Baker a strato volcano in the North Cascades of Washington. This steep glacier responds quickly to climate change and after retreating more than 2 kilometers from its Little Ice Age Maximum, it began to …

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19 November 2018

35th Annual Field Observations of North Cascade Glaciers

The 2018 field season observations, conditions and summary. Field team Mariama Dryak, Erin McConnell, Jill Pelto and Mauri Pelto. For the 35th consecutive year I headed to the North Cascade Range, Washington to monitor the response of glaciers to climate change.  Two of the glaciers the North Cascade Glacier Climate Project (NCGCP) monitors are now part of the 42 glaciers comprising the World Glacier Monitoring Service  (WGMS) reference glacier network, …

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20 August 2018

35th Annual Field Season Monitoring North Cascade Glaciers Preliminary Assessment

We monitor the response of North Cascade glacier to climate change and the consequent impacts for water resources and the ecosystem, as illustrated here by Megan Pelto and Jill Pelto. For the 35th consecutive year I headed to the North Cascade Range, Washington to monitor the response of glaciers to climate change. During the course of this study we  observed several of the glaciers we monitor disappear.  Two of the …

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23 June 2018

Honeycomb Glacier Retreat, Washington New Lake Lost Nunatak

Honeycomb Glacier in Google Earth imagery from 1998 and 2016.  The dark orange line is the 1998 margin, we mapped the margin in the field in 1995 and in 2002.  The light orange line is the 2007 margin and the yellow line the 2016 margin. Note crevassing diminished as well.  Honeycomb Glacier is one of the longest and largest glaciers in the North Cascades.   In 1979 it was 3.9 km …

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10 May 2018

Ablation Variation with time Across Variable Glacier Surface

This post was prompted by comments from Ruth Mottram about funding for ablation process studies and the work by Fausto et al (2016) that noted non-radiative forces dominated the energy fluxes for ablation on the Greenland Ice Sheet during a period of  high ablation in July 2012.  This reminded me of a study we conducted some 25 years ago on the variation of ablation through time across a variable glacier …

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