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August 20, 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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August 1, 2018

Alpine Glacier-BAMS State of the Climate 2017

Global alpine glacier annual mass balance record of reference glaciers submitted to the World Glacier Monitoring Service, with 2017 continuing the trend of significant negative mass balance.  The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society: State of the Climate 2017 has been published.  Since 2008 I have written the chapter on alpine glaciers. The World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS)record of mass balance and terminus behavior (WGMS 2017) provides a global index …

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July 25, 2018

Bas d’Arolla Glacier, Switzerland No Longer Reaches Valley

Bas d’Arolla Glacier in Landsat images from 1990, 2001 and 2017.  Red arrow is 1985 terminus, yellow arrow 2017 terminus location, purple dots annual snowline. A=Bas d’Arolla O=Otemma Bas D’Arolla Glacier is one of the glaciers where the terminus is monitored annually by the Swiss Glacier Monitoring Network (SCNAT). Here we examine changes in this glacier from 1985 to 2017 including changes in the terminus, snowline elevation and tributary connection …

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July 18, 2018

Mount Tanggula Glaciers, China Thin and Separate

Changes in outlet glaciers of Tanggula Shan in Landsat images from 1993 and 2015.  The Tanggula Shan is in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau at the headwaters of the Yangtze River and host approximately 1000 square kilometers of glaciers. Ke et al (2017)  examined glaciers in the Dongkemadi Region of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau revealed glacier thinning of 0.56 m/year from 2003-2008.  The area loss of  −0.31 km2/ year from 1976-2013, a 13% change …

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July 11, 2018

Mozigou Glacier Meltwater Pays High Hydropower Dividend

Mozigou Glacier is a valley glacier in the Gongga Mountains, Sichuan Province, China that drains into the Dadu River.  In the first 250 km after leaving the glacier this meltwater travels through seven hydropower projects that have a collective capacity of  over 9000 MW. Pan et al (2012) noted that the glaciers of the Gongga Shan have lost 11% of their area since 1966.  They further reported a 300 m …

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July 9, 2018

Glaciers Abandon Farragut River Valley, Alaska

The Farragut Glacier  (F) in Landsat images in 1985 and 2017.  The red arrow indicates the 1985 terminus location, the yellow arrow the 2017 terminus location and the purple arrow, two tributaries in 1985 that now no longer connect to the former valley glacier. The glacier now terminates well short of Glory Lake (G) and two new lakes have formed.  The Farragut River drains into Frederick Sound in Southeast Alaska.  …

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July 5, 2018

Harbardsbreen, Norway Margin Retreat and Separation

Harbardsbreen (H) the 13th largest ice cap in Norway in 1988 and 2014 Landsat images.  Red arrows indicate the main terminus on the east side that has separated since 1988. Point 1 is the sole nunatak in 1988 now there are more.  The Pink arrow is the location of the narrowing connection with the northern section of the icecap.  The east side of the ice cap feeds the hydropower system …

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June 27, 2018

Nioghalvfjerdsbræ 70 km+ Long Supraglacial stream, Greenland’s Longest?

Landsat image of Nioghalvfjerdsbræ in 2017 with supraglacial stream indicated by arrows and calving front yellow dots.  I first observed the impressive discharge and length of the supraglacial streams working on Jakobshavn Glacier more than 30 years ago.  The longest persistent supraglacial stream in Greenland at present that I am aware of is on Nioghalvfjerdsbræ (79 Glacier).  The longest streams will occur on glaciers with low slopes in the ablation zone …

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June 23, 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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June 14, 2018

Coutts Ice Cap, Baffin Island Fragmentation

Coutts Ice Cap in  Landsat images from 1986 and 2017.  The terminus location of the main glacier terminating in the large lake is indicated by dots.  Tributary Glaciers 1-6 represent locations where glaciers have separated or a glacier has retreated from a lake.  Coutts Ice Cap is on between Coutts Inlet to the west and Buchan Gulf to the east on the north shore of Baffin Island near its northeastern …

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