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Glaciers of the Washington Cascade and Olympic Mountains; Their Present Activity and its Relation to Local Climatic Trends

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Between 1953 and 1955, 73 glaciers in the Olympic and Cascade Mountains of Washington State have been investigated to determine their present activity. 50 of these glaciers are now advancing at rates from 3 to 100 m. or more per annum. Of the remaining 23, 22 glaciers either demonstrate clear evidence of increasing thickness, or have remained so heavily snow-covered at the end of the ablation season that it has not been possible to locate their limits.

The present glacier growth, which appears to have started about 12 years ago, represents a radical change from conditions during the previous 20 years when glaciers of the Olympics and Cascades without exception were shrinking rapidly. An analysis of local climatic data demonstrates a present trend toward a cooler, wetter climate in western Washington. The ten year running mean annual temperature at Tatoosh Island off the Washington coast has decreased approximately o 8° C. from the period 1934‐1943 to the period 1945‐1954. In the same interval of time the ten year running mean annual precipitation at Tatoosh has increased about 38 cm., and during the last decade has reached its highest value since the period 1898‐1907.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1956-01-01

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  • The Journal of Glaciology is published six times per year. It accepts submissions from any discipline related to the study of snow and ice. All articles are peer reviewed. The Journal is included in the ISI Science Citation Index.

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