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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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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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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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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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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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27 April 2018

How Unusual Was 2015 in the 1984–2015 Period of the North Cascade Glacier Annual Mass Balance?

Sholes Glacier during the first week of August 2015 versus and average year such as in 2017.  Note stream gage and weather station at this site. The greater extent of bare ice enhances ablation as for a given temperature there is a higher ablation rate for ice then snow. Columbia Glacier a WGMS reference glacier viewed from above the glacier at Monte Cristo Pass at the start of August in 2015 …

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31 July 2016

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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31 August 2014

North Cascade Glacier Climate Project 2014 Field Season (31st Annual) Preliminary Results

The 2014 Glacier Field season was our 31st consecutive year working on North Cascade glaciers. After a late winter surge of snowfall, the North Cascades had a slightly above average snowpack as the melt season began in early May. The warm, dry summer to date, could end up being the warmest for the region, currently 2013 was the warmest melt season. The result is glacier melt has been high overall. …

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31 July 2012

Glacier Ground Truth-2012 Field Season

For the 29th summer in a row we will be measuring glacier mass balance in the field, in the North Cascades, Washington, over the next three weeks, no new posts during this period. Glacier mass balance is the most sensitive measure of glacier response to climate. In the past the only way to determine mass balance was detailed field measurements. Today there is sufficient satellite imagery to provide data that …

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