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You are browsing the archive for North Cascade Glaciers Archives - From a Glacier's Perspective.

October 3, 2017

34th Annual, 2017 North Cascade Glacier Climate Project Field Season

2017 Field Season Video For the thirty fourth consecutive summer we headed into the field to monitor the continued response of North Cascade glaciers to climate change.  In 1984 when I began this program we selected 10 key glaciers to monitor.  Two of these have now disappeared.  All the glaciers have retreated extensively and lost considerable volume.  The mass balance loss is 19 m of water equivalent thickness, which is over …

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August 23, 2017

Observing Glacier Runoff Changes Under the Same Weather Conditions

View of Sholes Glacier on August 8th in 2015 left and 2017 right.  Note difference in ratio of snow surface to ice surface exposed.  Sholes Glacier is at the headwaters of Wells Creek in North Fork Nooksack River watershed in Washington.  We have been measuring the mass balance of this glacier annually since 1990 and runoff in detail since 2012 (Pelto, 2015).  Glacier runoff in this watershed during late summer …

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August 1, 2017

34th Annual Field Program NORTH CASCADE GLACIER CLIMATE PROJECT 2017

  2016 Field Season Video NORTH CASCADE GLACIER CLIMATE PROJECT 2017 For the thirty fourth consecutive summer it is time to head into the field to monitor the continued response of North Cascade glaciers to climate change.  In 1984 when I began this program we selected 10 key glaciers to monitor.  Two of these have now disappeared.  All the glaciers have retreated extensively and lost considerable volume.  The mass balance …

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August 22, 2016

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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July 31, 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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June 29, 2016

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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April 10, 2016

North Cascade Winter Snowpack 2016, 33rd Field Season Approaches

This 2016 winter has proved much different than in 2015.  In 2015 exceptional warmth led to record low snowpack despite above average precipitation.  The warmth is illustrated using the North American Freezing Level Tracker for our Sholes Glacier site. The highest mean level by far is 2015, 500 m above average versus 180 m above average this winter.  The low snowpack combined with a long warm melt season in 2015 …

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February 19, 2016

Foss Glacier, WA Needs Snow Queen Elsa’s Help to Survive

Comparison of Foss Glacier in 1988 and 2015 from the west ridge of Mount Daniel.  The glacier has lost 70% of its area in 30 years. Black arrows indicate bedrock area emerging amidst the glacier.  Foss Glacier is a slope glacier covering the northeast face of Mount Hinman at the head of the South Fork Skykomish River in the North Cascades of Washington. In the 1958 map of the region …

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December 11, 2015

Climate Driven Retreat of Mount Baker Glaciers and Changing Water Resources

We have spent 300 nights in a tent just on this mountain collecting data from 1984-2015 in this study that the book documents. This post has the same title as a book released last month as part of the Springer Briefs in Climate Studies series.  The nice thing about publishing research emerging from 30 years of field research in a book  is that I had a chance to include 104 …

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September 4, 2015

Visualizing Glacier Melt Impacts

Key questions emerge from the summer of 2015 in the Pacific Northwest glacier basins. That can both be visualized and quantified. With record temperatures and minimum flows in most rivers in the Cascade Range during July and August of 2015, a key question was how much did glaciers contribute in basins that are glaciated?  Note the water pouring off the glacier and the lack of snowcover in the first few …

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