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

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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May 10, 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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April 27, 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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April 6, 2018

North Cascade Winter Snowpack Status 2018

2018 Winter Freezing levels at Mount Baker (November 2017-March 2018).  The accumulation season on most Northern Hemisphere glaciers extends through April. The key benchmark for snowpack water assessment in alpine ranges is typically April 1, as that is the average maximum snowpack for an alpine range.  In 2018 the North Cascade Range had freezing levels above the long term mean, but at the 21st century mean. A result of higher …

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March 15, 2018

Easton Glacier, Mount Baker, WA Annual Retreat & Mass Loss 1990-2017

Mass balance, terminus and supra glacial stream assessment are illustrated in the video, Filmed by Mauri Pelto, Jill Pelto, Melanie Gajewski, with music from Scott Powers. This is the story of  the annual monitoring of Easton Glacier, Washington.  We have been monitoring Easton Glacier on Mount Baker, a stratovolcano in the North Cascade Range, Washington since 1990.  Each year we survey the terminus position, measure its mass balance, assess crevasse depths …

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March 2, 2018

Lower Curtis Glacier Annual Terminus Response to Climate Change

Side view of Lower Curtis Glacier in 2013, 2015 and 2017, illustrating the reduced slope and height of glacier front in just four years. Terminus observations have been reported to the WGMS from 2500 glaciers with 46,500 specific observations since the late 19th century, which you can explore with the glacier viewer application. Here we examine what it looks like to report from a glacier each year.  I have visited this …

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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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