Understanding Glaciers

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By Charles May

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Abstract

The glaciers in Washington have retreated by 53.03% this is usually caused by a decrease in precipitation, an increase in temperature or precipitation falling at different times of the year. Most people know that the climate has changing but not as many have looked up how it is going to impact them locally. Knowing that Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, Mount Adams and Glacier Peak had significant glaciation may alert them to the threat of lahars. Knowing how much the glaciers have retreated in certain areas may cause people to have some ideas in how the climate has changed in those areas. It may cause them to research the impacts of the climate to them. I investigated how much the glaciers in the Olympics, the South Cascades, the North Cascades and on Mount Rainier retreated. To find an answer I would find a glacier, use the Google Earth area calculator and put points all around the glacier to find its current area. I would not do every glacier in the area. To find the previous area of the glacier I would examine the moraines and where there is young and not fully grown vegetation. The glaciers of the North Cascades have retreated by 53.62%, the South Cascades 54.56%, the Olympics 75.79% and Mount Rainier’s by 39.4%. This helped people have a general idea of how much glaciers in the Olympics and the Goat Rocks have retreated. I did not meet my objectives of why some retreated more, and some retreated less. [/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMGlkJTNEJTIyT2FuZEklMjIlM0UlM0MlMkZhJTNF[/vc_raw_html][vc_separator color=”black” el_width=”80″ css_animation=”none”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Object and Inquiry

I will be studying how much the glaciers have retreated in the state of Washington from the LIA (Little Ice Age Maximum until now). The object of my research is the glaciers. How much have each of the different regions of glaciers in the state of Washington changed, why has no one else done some of these areas before and what are some factors causing their retreat? [/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMGlkJTNEJTIyVG9ySCUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRmElM0U=[/vc_raw_html][vc_separator color=”black” el_width=”80″ css_animation=”none”][vc_column_text]

Thesis/ Hypothesis

Hypothesis
The glaciers of the Olympics that I will examine have retreated by 70% from their LIA maximum. The glaciers on Mount Rainier that I will examine have retreated by 45% from their LIA maximum. The glaciers of the South Cascades that I will examine have retreated by 65% since the LIA maximum. My hypothesis was close but negative.
Thesis (I did both because I feel mine is in between a research paper and an experiment)
The glaciers of the Olympics that I examined have retreated by 75.79%. The glaciers of Mount Rainier that I have examined 39.4%. The glaciers of the Goat Rocks that I examined have retreated by 75.04%. The glaciers of Mount Adams that I examined have retreated by 51.13%. The glaciers of the Goat Rock’s and the Olympics have not had a study from the LIA maximum to 2016 showing how much glaciers retreated because of difficulties doing measurement, very few people live in the area around them and for the Goat Rocks little interest in doing the measurements. My measurements are likely to be accurate because a study of glaciers on Mount Rainier has shown a retreat of 39% from 1896 to 2015 compared to mine of 39.4% from LIA maximum to 2016. Showing that I was very accurate compared to a study that was almost identical to mine. A study of Mount Adams has shown a retreat of 49% from 1900-2006 mine came up with 51.13% from LIA to 2016. Again, showing my study was very similar to another study. The Goat Rocks glaciers are very tiny, so they have little impact on the people around them. Also, very few people live around them compared to other areas like Mount Adams is near Portland, Mount Rainier Tacoma and Seattle and the North Cascades Bellingham. The Goat Rocks are not often mentioned because they are next too huge volcanoes and are relatively small leading to little interest in doing the measurements there. The Olympics have few people living around them leading to less interest in examining the glaciers. Another factor is because there are so many small glaciers which disappeared making it hard to do the measurements. Finally, the Olympics have very heavy precipitation causing moraines to disappear quickly and vegetation so hard to find their positions at the end of the LIA. The glaciers of the Goat Rock’s that I examined have retreated by 75.04%, Mount Rainier 39.4%, Mount Adams 51.13% and the Olympics 75.79%. The glaciers of the Goat Rocks and the Olympic have not had a study from the LIA to 2016 because of difficulties doing measurement, very few people live in the area around them and for the Goat Rocks little interest in doing the measurement
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Research Write Up

Prior Knowledge
I know that the average glacier retreat in Washington is about 53% and the North Cascades are 59%. I know one glacier has advanced and every other one retreated. From my North Cascades study I learned that there if the glacier was facing North, on the Western side of the range and had higher elevation it would retreat less and I assume it will be the similar across the state. I know that the Olympics and Goat Rocks are lower in elevation and probably their glacier have retreated more for that factor but retreated less because of how far west they are. I know that Mount Rainier and Mount Adams are higher so their glaciers will probably have retreated less for that factor and that Mount Rainier is farther west and had retreated less for that factor but Mount Adams is farther east and will have retreated more because of that. I know that all of them but the glacier in the Goat Rocks have pretty decent vertical so they will have retreated less for that factor.
Object and Inquiry
I will be studying how much the glaciers in Washington have retreated since the LIA and how do my measurement compare to professionals who have done the same research?

Research Summary
My initial research is about right in broadness is moderate.
It seems like the research is pretty consistent and there is enough information. My question is about right maybe a little too narrow.
I think so I think I have enough work to do.
The nature of my object is to move, change and compare because my object is the retreat of the glaciers and why some glacier have been studied.
How much have each of the different regions of glaciers in the state of Washington changed, what factors have affected their change and why have some areas been examine for amount of retreat but others have not?
Google Earth.
No and Yes
There have been very similar studies for Mount Rainier and Mound Adams but not for the Goat Rocks and the Olympics.
I will be able to see how accurate my measurements are.
Washington has four major glaciated regions Mount Rainier, South Cascades, North Cascades and Olympics. Also, the Little Ice Age maximum is when the glaciers retreated from there maximum position recently around 1850 but little retreat occurred until 1890-1900.

Information about the studies and comparing my measurements to theirs
A study of Mount Adams has shown a retreat of 49% from 1900-2006. Mine came up with 51.13%. The Olympics had some measurements done for individual glaciers in the early 20th with an average date of for the start 1915 and an end of 2009 had a retreat of 55% compared to mine LIA to 2016 of 75%. A study in the North Cascades from 1900-2009 has shown a retreat of 54% compared to mine 58.1% from LIA to 2016. A study of glaciers on Mount Rainier has shown a retreat of 39% from 1896 to 2015 compared to mine of 39.4% from LIA maximum to 2016.

Refined Knowledge and Questions
I will be studying how much the glaciers have retreated in the state of Washington from the LIA (Little Ice Age Maximum until now). The object of my research is the glaciers. How much have each of the different regions of glaciers in the state of Washington changed, why has no one else done some of these areas before and what are some factors causing their retreat? [/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMGlkJTNEJTIyVGFuZE0lMjIlM0UlM0MlMkZhJTNF[/vc_raw_html][vc_separator color=”black” el_width=”80″ css_animation=”none”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Tools and Materials

  • Computer
  • senses
  • hands
  • mind
  • previous projects
  • sources 

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Procedure and Data

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Journal

Object and Inquiry along with part of procedure and data on the 6th of February
On Sunday the 23rd I did my prior knowledge section.
2/26 Carbon Glacier
2/28 Winthrop glacier along with others at Mount Rainier 7 images
3/1 Getting 5 sources
3/3 Summary for Research
3/4 tools and Materials
3/5 Hypothesis
3/6 Part of Action Plan and did some measurements for Mount Adams 8 images
3/7 glacier measurements for Olympics and Mount Rainier part of action plan 18 images
3/9 Finished Mount Rainier glaciers total images 23
3/12 Started Goat Rock’s glaciers, worked on Mount Adam’s glaciers, total images 40, worked on procedure and data and cleaned up entire project for turn in at end of trimester.
3/16 Did measurements for glaciers on Mount Adams and in the Olympics total number of images of measurement taken 29.
3/24 Did measurements for glaciers in the Olympics number of images taken 97.
3/26 Data Analysis
3/27-4/17 Little to no work was done in this period.
4/18 Did 5 photos for measurement of glaciers in the Olympics. (ones I forgot or could not remember if I had done them before)
4/19-4/27 Little to no work was done in this period.
4/27 writing down all the information and 5 more measurements (for ones I did badly, ones I had done twice or ones I could not tell what glacier it was).
4/28 Cleaning up data and finishing lab report. Along with comparing measurements and doing calculations for area retreat.
4/30 Organizing project, editing, wrote comparing measurements, edited results and conclusions, adding definitions, and making sure the data is understandable.
5/1 Wrote thesis, wrote abstract, organized, refined research and questions, edited previous sources and current sources, edited insights and reflections, worked on Journal and added dates and wrote answer to hypothesis. 
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Procedure

To find out how much a glacier has retreated I put points around the glacier like so to find the area.


Image Landsat/Copernicus
I then examine moraines and dead vegetation to find were the glacier was.
Ch

Image Landsat / Copernicus
I add up all the previous areas of a group of glaciers (Mount Rainier 106,866) and all the current areas (Mount Rainier). I then divide the current areas by the previous areas. I then subtract that number from 100 and get how much the glacier has retreated.  
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Data and Analysis

The glaciers of the Olympic have retreated significantly total area for the 50 glaciers I have measured have retreated by 75.79% approximately from their LIA maximum. No one has done it before (That I know of) because of how many small glaciers there are that are gone and may be missed. Also, difficulties in doing some glacier measurements there due to moraines disappearing quickly because of heavy rain and snowfall (rainiest place in the lower 48 and one of the snowiest). The area at the end of the LIA was 55.566 km squared and the area now is 13.457 km squared. The glaciers of Mount Adams have retreat by approximately 51.13%. The area at the end of LIA was 38.100 km squared and the area now is 19.002 km squared. These same measurements have not been done but one that is almost identical has before because there was not a survey at the end of LIA, and it is very hard to do measurements for those glaciers. This is because of very little vegetation, minor moraines and lava flows can make for challenging measurements. Though very similar studies have been done. This was caused by an increase in summer temperatures and more rain falling on the lower glacier in the spring, summer, and fall. This was offset by an increase in winter snowfall and an increase in snow above 9,000 feet. The glaciers of Mount Rainier have retreated by approximately 39.4% this has been done many times before because of proximity to Seattle and it is a National Park. The area now is 64.771 km squared and the area at the end of the LIA was 106.866 km squared. They also receive funding from NPS to due surveys and it is easy to find moraines because of many old photographs. Finally, if it erupted, they have to survey how much ice would melt to find the risk to the areas around it. The retreat was caused by more rain falling on the lower portions of the glacier because of low elevation glacier terminuses Carbon glacier 3,500ft, Winthrop Glacier 4,900ft, Emmons 5,100ft, Nisqually 5,500ft and other glaciers along with warmer summer temperature. This was offset by an increased amount of snowfall on the higher elevations because warmer temps can carry more precipitation. The glaciers of Goat Rocks have not been measured before because their glaciers are very small and do not provide water for many people. The Goat Rocks glaciers have retreated by 75.04% approximately. The area of glaciers at the LIA was 8.213 square km and now it is 2.050 square km. This retreat was caused by more rain falling on the glaciers because of low elevation and higher summer temperatures. There has been an increase in precipitation, but this has not been helpful due to more precipitation falling as rain. The South Cascades as a whole (Goat Rocks and Mount Adams) have retreated by 54.56%. The glaciers in the North Cascades have retreated by 53.62%. The area at the end of the LIA was 207.745 square km and now it is 96.354 square km. Due to an increase in temperature which causes more precipitation to fall as rain on the lower elevation glaciers because the glacier of the North Cascades are relatively low elevation. I examined a total of 93 glaciers in this project and 134 including my last project. The average retreat of all these glaciers in Washington is 53.03%. The area at the LIA maximum for all 134 was 416 square km and the area now is 196 square km. [/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMGlkJTNEJTIyUmFuZEMlMjIlM0UlM0MlMkZhJTNF[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator color=”black” el_width=”80″ css_animation=”none”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Results and Conclusion

My hypothesis was wrong I thought the glaciers in the Olympics would have retreated by 70% they retreated by 75%. I thought the glaciers of Mount Rainier would have retreated by 45% they retreated by 39.4%. I thought the glaciers of the South Cascades would have retreated by 65% they retreated by 54.56%. (My Hypothesis for the South Cascades was based on including crater glacier and a few other glaciers but because of the eruption I could not find moraines)[/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMGlkJTNEJTIySWFuZFIlMjIlM0UlM0MlMkZhJTNF[/vc_raw_html][vc_separator color=”black” el_width=”80″ css_animation=”none”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Insights and Reflections

I think this project is important because it could alert people to the fact that the climate has changed from the LIA. My project communicates this because the glaciers have retreated in Washington State which is usually caused by an increase in temperature or a decrease precipitation. It is important to know this because this may cause people to research changing business practices such as relying less on Wild Salmon because of increased stream temperature or farmers rely less on late season runoff. For people who plant gardens it may cause them to research different plants or what time to plant. It also important to know that the climate has changed here not just the arctic. For water suppliers it may cause them to measure late season water runoff and see if it is more beneficial to build more water storage. I think I could have done this project better had I spent more time on it especially my data, organization of the project and making it easier to understand. I also should have researched what I was doing a little better before I started the project because it would have caused me to not have to change my object and inquiry at the beginning. I also should have been more ahead on deadlines, so I could have extra time to work on sections of the project rather than doing it right before the deadlines. Also, if I kept a better journal. It would have also gone better had covid-19 not occurred because I would have had more deadlines and not be doing things at the last minute.[/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMGlkJTNEJTIyQmliJTIyJTNFJTNDJTJGYSUzRQ==[/vc_raw_html][vc_separator color=”black” el_width=”80″ css_animation=”none”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Bibliography

Average Annual Precipitation in Washington State, Olympic Peninsula Community Museum, 5/1/20, https://content.lib.washington.edu/cmpweb/resources/map-rainfall.html
This source is by a museum. I used this source to find how much precipitation each glacier got.

Beason, Scott, Change in Glacier Extent at Mount Rainier National Park from 1896 to 2015, National park service June 2017, Accessed 12/12/19 https://irma.nps.gov/DataStore/DownloadFile/580543
This is probably accurate because it is by the National Park Service.

Danielle J. Sitts, Andrew G. Fountain and Mathew J. Hoffman Twentieth century glacier change Mount Adams, Washington USA, BIO ONE 10/25/10, 3/1/19 http://glaciers.pdx.edu/fountain/MyPapers/SittsEtAl2010_GlaciersMt.Adams.pdf
This is probably accurate because it is by students at Portland University who used studies from observations of the glaciers.
Dick, Kristina Amanda , “Glacier Change in the North Cascades, Washingotn :1900-2009” (2013). Dissertations and theses. Paper 1062 accessed 10/17/19 https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/0f67/b462ca00b64a747f33925487e62994ba121e.pdf
This is probably accurate because it uses surveys of the glaciers.

Google Earth Pro This is probably accurate source because they use satellite imagery which is hard to be inaccurate with. Also, my glacier measurements are similar with other people using different sources suggesting it’s area calculation is accurate.

John L. Riedel, Steve Wilson, William Baccus, Michael Larrabee, T.J Fudge, and Andrew G. Fountain , (2015). Glacier Status and contribution to streamflow in the Olympic Mountains, Washington, U.S.A. Journal of Glaciology, 61 (225). Published 2-2015, accessed 3/1/2020 http://www.glaciers.pdx.edu/fountain/MyPapers/RiedelEtAl2015_GlaciersOlympicMountains.pdf
This is probably accurate because it is by people who know the topic well.
Why I used the sources
The study done by the National Park Service in 2015 says that from 1896-2015 the glaciers of Mount Rainier have retreated around 39% and that south facing glaciers have retreated more than north facing glacier. This study of the glaciers of Mount Adams states that the glacier have retreated by 49% between 1904-2006. A study of the glaciers of the North Cascades from 1900-2009 has shown a retreat of 54%. A study of the glacier of the Olympics has shown a retreat of 55% from approximately 1915 (Different dates for different glaciers) to 2009 and that Northern Glaciers retreated less there than Southern. Using Google Earth Pro is how I get all my measurements.
Sources for Previous Project that may have been Used
I did not use any of these sources besides having used previously remembered information or information from my Powerpoint which used these. If I accessed them it was too add information to citations.
Alder Dam, Tacoma Public Utilities accessed 10/17/19 https://www.mytpu.org/about-tpu/services/power/about-tacoma-power/dams-power-sources/nisqually-river-project/alder-dam/
Alexander Koch, Chris Brierley, Mark Maslin, Simon Lewis, “European colonization of the Americas killed 10 percent of world population and caused global cooling(Alexander Koch, Chris Brierley, Mark Muslin, Simon Lewis)” ,PRI, 1/31/19, 5/1/20 https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-01-31/european-colonization-americas-killed-10-percent-world-population-and-caused
Annual Snowfall Totals, National Park Service, September 30 2019, accessed 10/17/19 https://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/annual-snowfall-totals.htm
Asahel Cutis, Asset Source R. C. Spicer, Anderson Glacier, Glacier of The American West 9/14/1927 published 4/19/2009 accessed 10/17/19 http://glaciers.us/images/anderson19271.html photographer Asahel Curtis
Glacier Landforms Moraines, All About Glaciers, accessed Updated 3/16/20, 5/1/20:// http://nsidc.org/cryosphere/glaciers/gallery/moraines.html
Glaciers, National Park Service, 11/9/18, accessed 10/17/19, https://www.nps.gov/mora/learn/nature/glaciers.htm
Hall, Myrna and Fagre, Daniel, Model climate-induced glacier change in glacier national park, Bio Science,1850-2100 February 2003, 5/1/20 https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/53/2/131/254976
Hekkers, Mike and Thorneycroft, Kristina Glaciers of Washington, Glaciers of the American West, September 7 2011, accessed 5/1/20, http://glaciers.us/glaciers-washington-2.html
John P. Rafferty, Stephen T. Jackson, Little Ice Age, Encyclopedia Britannica, accessed 10/17/20 https://www.britannica.com/science/Little-Ice-Age
Legal Notices for Google Maps/Google Earth and Google Maps/Google Earths APIs, Google Updated 3/31/20, 5/1/20 also 10/8/19, https://www.google.com/help/legalnotices_maps/
Mauri S. Pelto, Cliff Hedlund, Terminus behavior and response time of North Cascade Glaciers, Washington, U.S.A2001, accessed 10/17/20 https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/B5662F4B70ACEF66157F43A8F91DC2DD/S0022143000211222a.pdf/div-class-title-terminus-behavior-and-response-time-of-north-cascade-glaciers-washington-u-s-a-div.pdf
Mauri S. Pelto Introduction to North Cascades Glaciers, North Cascades Glacier Climate Project, accessed 5/1/20 https://glaciers.nichols.edu/intro/
Mauri S. Pelto Nooksack River: Glacier Runoff Maintains Suitable Aquatic Condition for Salmon, accessed 5/1/20 https://glaciers.nichols.edu/nooksack-river/
NPS image/R. Hoffman, Precipitation Map, National Park Service, accessed 10/17/19 https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/weather.htm
Osborn, Liz Wettest Places in the United States, Current Results, accessed 10/17/19 https://www.currentresults.com/Weather-Extremes/US/wettest.php
Pelto, Mauri Anderson Glacier, Olympic Mountain Washington disappears date published January 9 2015 accessed 10/17/19 https://blogs.agu.org/fromaglaciersperspective/2015/01/09/anderson-glacier-olympic-mountains-washington-disappears/
Rebecca Lindsey and LuAnn Dahlman Climate Change: Global Temperature September 19 2019 Accessed 10/17/19 https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-global-temperature
Russell, Israel Glaciers of Mount Rainier, National Park Service 3/6/2006, accessed 10/17/19 https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/geology/publications/rpt/18-2/sec1-5.htm [/vc_column_text][vc_separator color=”black” el_width=”80″ css_animation=”none”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]