south cascade glacier retreat

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This was prompted by the National Academy of Sciences listing this as a high priority and a personal … Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. The 50-year mass balance records for these three USGS Benchmark Glaciers show annual and interannual fluctuations that reflect the controlling climatic conditions. U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center Pelto's research team has recorded the mass balance of numerous glaciers, all of which are retreating due to global warming, which has raised temperatures; which in turn has increased melting and increased the frequency of winter rain and melt events that reduce winter accumulation on North Cascade glaciers. The USGS has been monitoring the mass balance of three glaciers in the Pacific Northwest and in Alaska for nearly 50 years. The PDO cold phase tends to be associated with more southerly storm tracks directed at the Washington coast; South Cascade Glacier has tended to gain mass from this moisture at the expense of Wolverine Glacier. Figure 2 shows trends for three “benchmark” glaciers: South Cascade Glacier in Washington state, Wolverine Glacier near Alaska’s southern coast, and Gulkana Glacier in Alaska’s interior. 4210 University Drive All three glaciers have lost mass since USGS monitoring began more than four decades ago. Abstract One interpretation of the trend towards increasing summer melt at the Benchmark Glaciers is that climate changes that are larger in scale and intensity than periodic shifts in ocean conditions (PDO) are underway. Conversely, sustained periods of negative mass balance, where accumulation is less than ablation, results in glacier shrinkage. 3400 Shell Street South Cascade Glacier in Washington documented from 1928 to 2003 showing the recent rapid glacier retreating. During climate changes, coastal glaciers are more sensitive to changes in precipitation (or the storm tracks that bring precipitation), whereas interior glaciers are more sensitive to changes in temperature. Between 1958 and 2009 South Cascade Glacier lost nearly a half of its volume.[3]. and the beginning of the 21st Century. The cumulative net mass balance describes long-term trends in the glacier shape and size, that is, whether the glacier is growing or shrinking. A glacier that is in balance with the current climate will have zero net balance and a steady size. Conversely, the net balance of Gulkana Glacier is best correlated with summer balance as expected because of the drier, continental climate of interior Alaska. The scientists check snow levels against stakes they’ve inserte… Fifty years of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) research on glacier change shows recent dramatic shrinkage of glaciers in three climatic regions of the United States. It spans 1300 m of elevation, from 1160 to 2470 m. The glacier is in a 31.5 km 2 basin and in 2016 it had an area of 16.0 km 2 (O'Neel et al, 2019). Cumulative net balance of South Cascade, Wolverine, and Gulkana Glaciers (Josberger and others, 2007). South Cascade glacier shows alarming rate of melt The world's melting glaciers Glaciers around the world are retreating at unprecedented rates as temperatures rise due to climate change. The glacier is located at the head of the Cascade River, which drains into the Skagit River and Puget Sound. (5-year ice core extracted in 1994 and spanning the period 1840–1991. This kind of retreating is the result of climate change which has significantly increased due to … Glacier Cumulative Annual Balance: The negative trend has Figure 2. Glacier retreat in Glacier National Park, Montana, U.S.A., is one example of land ice loss and glacier change. [2] It is bordered on the east by 8,261-foot (2,518 m) Sentinel Peak, and is about 17 mi (27 km) north of Glacier Peak in the Glacier Peak Wilderness. A shrinking glacier thins faster near the terminus (the lowest part of the glacier) than near the head (the highest part of the glacier), which is why the terminus retreats up-valley while the glacier head remains in place (fig. 3). Meier, M.F., Tangborn, W.V., Mayo, L.R., and Post, A., 1971, Combined ice and water balances of Gulkana and Wolverine Glaciers, Alaska, and South Cascade Glacier, Washington, 1965 and 1966 Hydrologic Years: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 715-A, 23 p., 4 pl. Setting a measurement stake at South Cascade Glacier, Washington. URL: http:// PACIFIC OCEAN. The glacier advanced m more than any other on Mount Baker by 1975. Figure 5. Since 1989, the cumulative net balances of all three glaciers show trends of rapid and sustained mass loss. 1). The glacier retreat was slow up to 1987 a total of 25 m. By 2015 the total retreat has amounted to 520 m. The lower section of the glacier below the lowest icefall is stagnant and will be lost. For all three glaciers, the summer balance records show that consistently more ablation took place during the period from 1987 to 2004 than did prior to 1987. At the same time that South Cascade Glacier was gaining mass in the early 1970s, Wolverine Glacier … The USGS Benchmark Glaciers each exhibit a long-term trend of increasing mass turnover, which have become more well-defined and stronger from 1985 to 2005. William Bidlake, Hydrologist (wbidlake@usgs.gov) Figure 6. The U.S. Geological Survey monitors only four of our nation’s glaciers on an annual basis, two of which are in the Lower 48: South Cascade Glacier in Washington and Sperry Glacier in Montana. 6) resulting from record high temperatures and low precipitation, also set the stage for large, intense wildfires that burned in Alaska. These long periods of record provide clues to the climate shifts that may be driving glacier change. CANADA. The opposite trends for these two maritime glaciers were the result of a shift in the winter storm tracks coming from the northeast Pacific Ocean. The accelerating loss of mass, the weakening correlation with the PDO, and increasing mass turnover likely are the result of changes to warmer and (or) drier climate conditions that are affecting all three regions. The cumulative balance trend for North Cascade glaciers indicates an increasing trend of negative mass balance. 2). The glaciers on Mount Rainier decreased in area by 21% between 1913 and 1994 (Nylen, 2004). The South Cascade Glacier has been closely monitored by glaciologists studying the effects of climate on glaciers. This change, when coupled with a reduction in accumulation (thin snowpacks), has resulted in very negative net balances. Note how far the glacier has retreated since the 1965 photo below. moving averages are plotted as lines). The cumulative net balance is the total loss or gain of glacier mass since the beginning of the study period and is presented as spatially averaged thickness change (fig. The least significant retreats among the glaciers studied were for Rabots Glacier in northern Sweden, and South Cascade Glacier in Washington state, with probabilities of 11 and 6 … Evidence of retreat 1) USGS periodically measure South Cascade Glacier using photographic surveys and measurement stakes (take the same photo over a period of time to observe the changes) The well-studied South Cascade Glacier shrank by 22% during this time period (USGS), while the Blue Glacier in Olympic National Park saw a terminus retreat of 2% between 1957 and 1997 (Conway et al., 1999). The net mass balance of a glacier is the difference between the mass gain through accumulation of snow and the mass loss through ablation. By looking at this photo it's clear to see how quickly the glaciers are retreating in the modern world. Data for South Cascade Glacier are available beginning in 1959 (relative to conditions in 1958) and for Gulkana and Wolverine Glaciers beginning in 1966 (relative to conditions in 1965). Mass turnover is estimated by averaging the absolute values of winter and summer balances. The most direct way to quantitatively observe changes in a glacier is to measure its mass balance: the difference between the amount of snowfall, or accumulation, on the glacier, and the amount of snow and ice that melts and runs off or is lost as icebergs or water vapor, collectively termed ablation (fig. The project has grown steadily since then to include more glaciers every year. U.S. Geological Survey, Washington Water Science Center Glaciers in continental or interior climates (for example, Gulkana Glacier) exist primarily because cold temperatures result in low ablation. Regional climate exhibits strong control on glacier mass balance, and over decadal time scales mass balances correlate with regional climate change. Figure 3. Large mass turnover is typical of coastal, maritime glaciers where winter precipitation and snow accumulation are large. South Cascade Glacier located in a north-northwest facing valley near the crest of the Cascade Range in northwest Washington state. This is exemplified by 2004, when strongly negative summer balances (fig. The USGS Benchmark Glacier Program began in 1957 as a result of research efforts during the International Geophysical Year (Meier and others, 1971). Policies and Notices, U.S. Department of the Interior | Canada WA Pacific Ocean Cascade Range South Cascade Glacier Seattle 50 100 200 km The map below shows the extent of the glacier in 1958 and in 2013. The results confirm stake measurements at South Cascade Glacier in the North Cascades, showing significant loss over the past 60 years. Title graphic image: South Cascade Glacier in the Washington Cascade Mountains, in 1928, 1979, and 2000 (Images courtesy of the National Snow and Ice Data Center) Scientists track glacial change by measuring individual glaciers and comparing their size over time with records of … Water, Ice, and Meteorological Measurements at South Cascade Glacier, Washington, Balance Years 2004 and 2005. Josberger, E.G., Bidlake, W.R., March, R.S., and Kennedy, B.W., 2007, Glacier mass-balance fluctuations in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, USA: Annals of Glaciology, v. 46, p. 291-296. Mountain glaciers occur on all continents except Australia. The mean annual balance from 1984 to 2009 on North Cascade glaciers is −0.51 m/y ().The cumulative balance is −13.26 m, equal to an ice thickness loss of nearly 15 m ().This is comparable to the mean annual balance on South Cascade Glacier of −0.78 m/y (Bidlake et al., 2007). This mass balance record is now sufficient to interpret glacier responses to short- and long-term climate changes in the Pacific Northwest, the Alaska Coast, and the Alaska interior. Today, the federal benchmark glacier program extends beyond Alaska and includes research at the South Cascade Glacier in Washington state and the Sperry Glacier in Montana. Part 1 Glacial “retreat" You will be working with data from South Cascade Glacier, WA, which has been monitored in detail by the USGS since 1959. 1928 to 2000 comparison: These photos of the South Cascade Glacier in the Washington Cascade Mountains show dramatic retreat between 1928 and 2000. The USGS measures accumulation and ablation using a network of stakes distributed over the glacier (fig. Glacier retreat results in the loss of the low-elevation region of the glacier. 2007-5055:70. South Cascade Glacier is a large alpine glacier in the North Cascades of Washington, USA. Increased intensity of hydrologic cycling provides the simplest interpretation for the trend. Accessibility The net balance of Wolverine Glacier (yellow bars) tracks the winter balance (blue bars) more closely than the summer balance (red bars), in accordance with its location in a coastal climate. Photos courtesy USGS. Dominated by a maritime climate, the glacier receives heavy annual precipitation, exceeding 4.5 m in places ( PRISM Climate Group, 2006 ) and is heavily influenced by climate conditions in the Pacific Ocean ( Walters and Meier, 1989 ). At the same time that South Cascade Glacier was gaining mass in the early 1970s, Wolverine Glacier was losing mass. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. 2). Measurements began on South Cascade Glacier, WA in 1958, expanding to Gulkana and Wolverine glaciers, AK in 1966, and later Sperry Glacier, MT in 2005. Edward Josberger, Research Oceanographer (ejosberg@usgs.gov) Wolverine Glacier since 1966 Lemon Creek Glacier since 193 South Cascade Glacier since 198. This study documents historic BC and dust deposition as well as their effect on albedo on South Cascade Glacier (SCG) in Washington State (USA) through the analysis of a 158‐m (139.5‐m water equivalent [w.e.]) Time series of winter balance (net accumulation—blue), summer balance (net ablation—red), and net balance (yellow) for the three benchmark glaciers (Josberger and others, 2007). Figure 4. South Cascade Glacier, October 2000. Rapid retreat of glaciers is our region's way of tracking the rapid advance of global warming. Gulkana Glacier since 1966. Play media. The mean ELA is 1,900 m. Water from the basin flows into the Cascade River then the Skagit River. 3) is located in the North Cascades of Washington. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge. Sperry Glacier since 200. Annual data collection occurs at three glaciers that represent three climatic regions in the United States: South Cascade Glacier in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State; Wolverine Glacier on the Kenai Peninsula near Anchorage, Alaska; and Gulkana Glacier in the interior of Alaska (fig. Mass loss has accelerated during the last 15 years, coincident with the highest melt years on record. What have we learned so far? 5). /fs/2009/3046/index.html The climate changes could be overwhelming the previously observed responses of the maritime glaciers to periodic shifts in ocean conditions, such as are represented by the PDO. This valley glacier occupies roughly one-half of a 6.11-km 2 basin. USGS scientists visit each site in spring and autumn (sometimes more often) to keep a running tally of accumulation and ablation for each stake. Densities of snow and ice differ considerably and before glacier-average thickness changes in each material can be summed to the net balance, the changes must be converted to a common basis. South Cascade Glacier lost mass at an almost constant rate during the late 1950s to the late 1960s, then gained mass until 1976, and has been losing mass at a fairly constant and rapid rate since 1977. Photos courtesy USGS. Tacoma, WA 98402, Rod March, Hydrologist (rsmarch@usgs.gov) South Cascade Glacier is a large alpine glacier in the North Cascades of Washington, USA. U.S. Geological Survey This shift most likely was due to a shift in the phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), which is an ocean-climate oscillation (similar to the El Niño Southern Oscillation) in which the pattern of ocean surface temperatures and atmospheric pressures in the North Pacific Ocean oscillates on about a multi-decadal timescale. Diagram of a glacier showing components of mass balance. G lacier monitoring methodology has evolved over time based on scientific reanalysis, and cumulative net mass balance Mass balance of the coastal South Cascade and Wolverine Glaciers correlate well with the PDO during the first few decades of the period of record, showing the effects of ocean-condition periodicity on glacier health. Since the late 1950s, the USGS has maintained a long-term glacier mass-balance program at three North American glaciers. The researchers also compare the satellite images with historical maps and information to determine a glacier’s advance or retreat over the past few decades. Meltwater from the glacier flows directly into South Cascade Lake, which feeds the South Fork Cascade River, which is a tributary of the Skagit River. In all, about 25 percent of the ice that melted between 2003 and 2010 occurred in the Americas (excluding Greenland). One of the glaciers, the South Cascade Glacier in Washington, has lost nearly half its volume and a quarter of its mass since 1958, U.S. Geological Survey scientists said. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report. Snowy winters would have to occur much more frequently in the future to reduce or reverse mass loss from the glacier. U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center To see if a glacier is growing or shrinking, glaciologists check the condition of snow and ice at several locations on the glacier at the end of the melt season. Aside from the last two groups, most of the glaciers of the North Cascades appear to have been in equilibrium with climatic conditions during the past decades. Fairbanks, AK 99701, Shad O’Neel, Glaciologist (soneel@usgs.gov) The main trunk of the glacier has a southerly aspect, and is fed by four cirques with west, south, and east aspects. In drier climates, such as the Rocky Mountains or interior Alaska, glaciers typically have relatively small mass turnover. 6) can reveal whether variations in temperature or precipitation are primary factors for observed changes. In its warm phase, the PDO tends to be associated with more northerly storm tracks, which in the past provided moisture for the growth of Wolverine Glacier at the expense of South Cascade Glacier. Gulkana Glacier is inland and relatively isolated from maritime influences; therefore, the glacier has not responded distinctively to shifts in the PDO and to positions of winter storm tracks. N. 0 400 800 KILOMETERS 0 400 800 MILES. South Cascade Glacier lost mass at an almost constant rate during the late 1950s to the late 1960s, then gained mass until 1976, and has been losing mass at a fairly constant and rapid rate since 1977. The net balance is the average mass balance over the entire glacier for one glaciological year, the time between the end of the summer ablation season from one year to the next. Currently, the volume of land ice on Earth is decreasing, driving consequential changes to global sea level and local stream habitat. In accordance with these concepts, figure 7 shows that higher turnover rates occur at South Cascade and Wolverine Glaciers than at Gulkana Glacier. Glaciers gain mass through snowfall and lose mass through melting and sublimation (when water evaporates directly from solid ice). A third way to explore the mass balance history of these three glaciers is by examining mass turnover, which describes the amount of water moving through the glacier system and the intensity of the local hydrologic cycle. On the other hand, seasonal balances (fig. This has led to the retreat of all 47 glaciers we monitor, with four of those glaciers having disappeared. A qualitative method for observing these changes is through repeat photography—taking photographs from the same position through time (fig. UNITED STATES UNITED STATES. (Josberger and others, 2007). The retreat of … Start studying Case Study of Glacier Retreat: South Cascade Glacier, USA. These glaciers can extend far down-valley to warm, low elevation regions (sometimes to sea level) where high ablation rates offset abundant maritime snow. 4). Glaciers that terminate in a lake or the ocean also lose mass through iceberg calving. Page Contact Information: GS Pubs Web Contact Four less active glaciers (Lynch, White Chuck, South Cascade, and "Banded") have continued to retreat, and six stagnant, relict ice masses have undergone considerable losses. Despite increasingly negative summer balances in the 1980s and 1990s, South Cascade Glacier did have a few years of positive mass balance; the most significant occurred in 1999, following the record 1998–99 winter snowfall. This synchronous decline could be the result of recent climate changes that are stronger than the PDO-induced variations of the earlier periods of record. Mass turnover has increased throughout monitoring and the trend of increase has become stronger during the last two decades. With low total snowfall, glaciers in these areas melt before they extend far down valley. A glacier that is out of balance with the current climate will grow (advance) or shrink (retreat) depending on how the climate is changing (colder or wetter climate will cause advance, warmer or drier climate will cause retreat). Glacier retreat in Glacier National Park, Montana. Despite drought conditions, the warm weather caused excessive melting of glaciers in Alaska and consequent flooding of many glacier-fed rivers. pubs.usgs.gov FOIA Glaciers average changes in climate over space and time and provide a picture of climate trends in remote mountainous regions. Figure 6 shows the strong influence of regional climate. 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