USGS Washington Water Science Center
|U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
Release: March 27, 2001
Robert M. Krimmel
253-428-3600, ext. 2647
Measurements of the the South Cascade Glacier in northwestern Washington show some growth in size in 1999, indicating a healthy year for the glacier, according to a report issued today by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Winter snow accumulation in late 1998 and early 1999 and summer melt in 1999 were measured at South Cascade Glacier to determine the health of the glacier. The winter accumulation was 11.78 feet (converted to the amount of water contained in the snow). By the end of the following summer, the amount of accumulation was reduced by 3.35 feet. This indicates that for 1999, the glacier gained mass and at least for that year was healthy.
Since similar measurements were begun in 1959, only three winters have had a greater accumulation, and only two years had a greater accumulation of mass by the end of the summer. While the glacier was healthy for 1999, it has not fared so well overall and has lost mass for most years since the late 1950's.
The report, "Water, Ice, Meteorological, and Speed Measurements at South Cascade Glacier, Washington, 1999 Balance Year," is published as U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 00-4265. Copies are available for reading at the U.S. Geological Survey office at 1201 Pacific Avenue, Suite 600, Tacoma, Washington 98402. It can be purchased from the U.S. Geological Survey, Information Services, Box 25286, Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225-0286, telephone (303) 202-4200.
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