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April 7, 2015

31 years of observations on Retreating Columbia Glacier, Washington

For the last 31 years the first week of August has found me on the Columbia Glacier in the North Cascades of Washington. Annual pictures of the changing conditions from 1984 to 2014 are illustrated in the time lapse video below. This is the lowest elevation large glacier in the North Cascades. Columbia Glacier occupies a deep cirque above Blanca Lake and ranging in altitude from 1400 meters to 1700 …


July 31, 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 …


October 7, 2010

Quien Sabe Glacier Retreat

The Quien Sabe Glacier in the North Cascades of Washington has experienced rapid retreat in the last 20 years. This glacier is the largest in Boston Basin near Cascade Pass, its name translates to “who knows?”, well we all know it is not enjoying recent climate. In the 1960 Austin Post photograph he gave to me in 1994, the glacier was heavily crevassed and advancing. By 1975 the advance had …


April 15, 2010

North Cascade Glacier 2010 Mass Balance Forecast

Beginning in 2006 the North Cascade Glacier Climate Project began to forecast glacier mass balance from atmospheric circulation index data. To be useful for water resource managers such a forecast must be made early in the spring. This is when snowpack begins melting at elevations below the glaciers and reservoirs can begin to be recharged. A first generation forecasting model that relied on October-March Pacific Decadal Oscillation and El Nino …


October 24, 2009

Mass Balance of the Easton Glacier 2009

Immediately below is Easton Glacier on Mt. Baker in the North Cascades in late May 2009. The glacier is still completely snow covered. The bench where the small gray cloud shadows are at 6000 feet averages 20 feet of snow remaining. Easton Glacier extends from the terminus at 5600 feet to the slopes near Sherman Crater at 9000 feet. Each summer since 1990 NCGCP has measured the mass balance of …