Mt. Baker glaciers disappearing? A response to the Seattle Times

by Don J. Easterbrook

The headline of the September 8, 2015 Seattle Times states:

‘Disastrous’: Low snow, heat eat away at Northwest glaciers

“Glaciers across the North Cascades could lose 5 to 10 percent of their volume this year, accelerating decades of steady decline. One scientist estimates the region’s glaciers are smaller than they have been in at least 4,000 years.” “The best word for it is disastrous,” said Pelto”

This was a multi-page story with numerous photographs and many predictions that glaciers in the North Cascade Mts. will be gone in 50 years. Having just finished a major analysis of Mt. Baker’s glaciers dating back thousands of years, I thought, what kind of nonsense is this? So I put together some of the data on Mt. Baker glaciers that will soon be published.

Photos and maps from a large collection dating back to 1909 document exactly what Mt. Baker glaciers have done in the past. What these photos and maps clearly show is the Mt. Baker glaciers reached their maximum extent of the past century in 1915 at the end of the 1880 to 1915 cold period. The glaciers then melted back strongly during the 1915 to 1950 warm period. The climate then turned cool again, and Mt. Baker glaciers advanced strongly for 30 years. In 1977, the climate turned warm again and since about 1980, glaciers have been retreating again. However, photos and maps prove that all Mt. Baker glaciers are more extensive today than they were in 1950. Here are a few examples.

Roosevelt and Coleman glaciers

Comparison of the position of the terminus of the Roosevelt glacier on USGS topographic maps of 2014 (blue line) and 1952 (green line) (Fig. 1). Both the Coleman and Roosevelt glaciers are more extensive now than they were in 1952. Figure 2 shows the advance and retreat of the two glaciers measured from vertical air photographs.


Figure 1. Positions of Coleman and Roosevelt termini in 2014 (blue) and 1952 (green) taken directly from USGS topographic maps.

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Figure 2. Advance and retreat of the Coleman and Roosevelt glaciers from 1940 to 1990. (Plotted from data in Harper, 1992)

Comparison of photographs of the Roosevelt glacier in 2015 and 1950 confirm that the glacier is more extensive now than in 1950. In the photos below, note that the terminus of the glacier reaches to the edge of dark cliff (left photo) in 2015, but was well upvalley from it in 1950 (right photo). The X on the photos is a point of reference for comparison.

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Figure 3. Comparision of photographs of the Roosevelt glacier in 2015 (left) and 1947 (right). Note that the glacier is more extensive now than it was in 1947.

Deming glacier

Comparison of the position of the terminus of the Deming glacier on USGS topographic maps of 2014 (blue line) and 1952 (green line) (Fig. 4) show that the glacier was more extensive in 2014 than it was in 1952. The right side of the figure shows that rates of advance and retreat of the Deming glacier from 1940 to 1990 (plotted from data in Harper, 1992).

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Figure 4. Comparison of the position of the Deming glacier terminus in 2015 and 1952 taken directly from USGS topographic maps (left). Graph on the right shows rates of advance and retreat of the glacier from 1940 to 1990.

Photographs of the Deming glacier 2011-2015 confirm that the glacier is more extensive now than it was in 1950-52. In the photos below the X is a point of reference and the yellow diamond is the terminus. The 2011-2015 terminus is far downvalley (see map) from it’s 1950-52 position.

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Figure 5. Deming glacier, 1950 (left) and 2011 (right).The yellow X is a point of reference and the diamond shape is the position of the terminus in 1950 and 2011. These photos show that the Deming glacier is more extensive now than it was in 1950 and confirm the positions of the terminus shown in Fig. 4.

Boulder glacier

Comparison of the position of the terminus of the Boulder glacier on USGS topographic maps of 2015 (blue line) and 1952 (green line) (Fig. 6) show that the glacier is more extensive now than it was in 1952.


Figure 6. Comparison of the position of the Boulder glacier terminus in 2014 and 1952 taken directly from USGS topographic maps. The glacier is now more than a kilometer downvalley from its 1952 position.

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Figure 7. Photos of the Boulder glacier in 1950 (left) and 2014 (right). The yellow X is a common point of reference and the yellow diamond marks the glacier terminus.

Photographs of the Boulder glacier 2014 confirm that the glacier is more extensive now than it was in 1950-52. The present is far downvalley (see map) from its 1950-52 position.

All of Mt. Baker’s other glaciers show the same thing. They are all more extensive now than they were in 1952 and nothing unusual is happening to them—they have been where they are now many times before. Data similar to that shown here for the Coleman, Roosevelt, Deming, and Boulder glaciers is also available for the Easton, Squak, Talum, Park, Rainbow, and Mazama glaciers.

The Seattle Times states that “Riedel estimates the region’s glaciers are smaller than they have been in at least 4,000 years.” However, the photos and maps of the Sholes glacier, the featured in the Times article, below prove that these claims are totally false˗˗the Sholes glacier has not changed at all in the past 70 years.

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Figure 8. The Sholes glacier in 1947 (left) and 2011 (right) are virtually identical.

These photos prove that the Sholes glacier today is identical to what it was in 1947. In addition, comparison of the glacier terminus on USGS topographic maps of 1952 and 2014 (below) show that the Sholes glacier has not changed since 1952.


Figure 9. The blue line is the margin of the Sholes glacier shown on the USGS 2014 topographic map. The green line is the terminus position shown on the 1952 map. These maps prove that the Shole glacier today is identical to what it was in 1952.

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September 13, 2015 12:47 pm

So is Pelto just incompetent or a liar?

Reply to  David Johnson
September 13, 2015 12:52 pm

Lying incompetent.

Greg Roane
Reply to  Jim Mcculley
September 15, 2015 8:35 am

no…Incompetently lying. Kinda like a know-it-all 10 year old. Weaving a lie because it sounds good and gets him the attention.
It worked, no?

Reply to  David Johnson
September 13, 2015 2:10 pm

“So is Pelto just incompetent or a liar?”
NO, just a typical media writer — commuted to stories of coming doom who is scientifically illiterate and too lazy to check the actual facts

Reply to  jim
September 13, 2015 2:45 pm

Aw, c’mon, what’s a little data compared to a damn good STORY?

Reply to  jim
September 13, 2015 3:10 pm

Yes, a damn good scary story.

Reply to  jim
September 13, 2015 5:26 pm

Mauri Pelto is supposedly a Nichols College glaciologist. The lazy writer of the article is Sandi Doughton. Since Pelto was said to have been conducting field work (presumably measuring Washington’s glaciers) for three decades, he ought be familiar with the USGS info Don included in this article. Therefor he’s probably lying but is apparently a competent alarmist trougher.

Reply to  jim
September 13, 2015 6:12 pm

I do not understand the cognitive leap from shrinking glaciers to disaster.
It makes zero sense.
Glaciers tie up water for decades that otherwise would be available for streams and rivers in the area.
Growing glaciers means water is being sequestered.
Shrinking glaciers mean it is being released…exactly what is needed during times of drought.
If there were no glaciers, the precipitation that fell on the mountain would do what the precipitation does on mountains that have no glaciers…it would soak into the soil and into the ground, flowing out and off of the mountain as springs and streams.
These people who yammer on about disaster are just clowns…it is not even one dimensional thinking, it is a lack of thinking about what is really happening.
Besides for all of that, it is one more example of the now obvious fact that climate alarmists are either completely ignorant of Earth history, and thus largely uneducated in their supposed field of expertise, or else they know the truth, and are just liars and con artists.

Leonard Lane
Reply to  jim
September 14, 2015 11:18 pm

I believe I would add intent to lazy. He is a member of the MSM and thus far left.

Reply to  David Johnson
September 13, 2015 3:49 pm

Or both like Obama.

Reply to  David Johnson
September 13, 2015 7:23 pm

glacier terminus denialist??

September 13, 2015 12:51 pm

says it all

Reply to  climatologist
September 13, 2015 3:50 pm

Here’s an alarmist article about the good Dr. Pelto, glaciologist extaordinaire.

Reply to  Dahlquist
September 13, 2015 9:19 pm

@ Dahlquist, Regarding that article;
“The 60-year-old man survived the catastrophe that hit the previous Soviet republic of Tajikistan’s mountainous japanese areas final month, however many others did not—the mudslides and flooding claimed a minimum of 12 lives and destroyed shut to at least one hundred houses.
The wave of destruction that began with a heatwave on July 16 is a harbinger of the broader ecological change looming over landlocked Central Asia, a fractured area that depends on a inventory of quickly melting glaciers for long-term survival.
The glaciers in Tajikistan’s Pamir vary and the close by Tien-Shan vary in Kyrgyzstan feed the strategic Amu and Syr rivers respectively, irrigating farmland that populations have trusted for hundreds of years.”
I think you should all read this one by Peter Sinclair, I for one can’t see anything comprehensible in it ( I presume with a name like Sinclair he speaks and “writes” english.
These few paragraphs are not the worst. The ones here, (second and third ones) to me contradict themselves, if I am wrong can some-one explain? But read the whole thing I am baffled ( so it must be great BS).

September 13, 2015 12:53 pm

Pelto is probably just a moron. Glaciers grow and glaciers recede. That is what glaciers do. So much written about so little.

September 13, 2015 12:54 pm

Looks like Pelto is following the Richard Alley school of alarming journalism: if reality does not agree with your psychosis … then make it up.
Ha ha

Reply to  601nan
September 13, 2015 1:40 pm

… never let truth be a burden …

Sturgis Hooper
September 13, 2015 12:57 pm

Excellent compilation showing natural fluctuations.
CAGW was hatched pre-falsified by cooling of 1945-77 under rapidly rising CO2.

Andy Deady
September 13, 2015 12:59 pm

ask the newspaper for a retraction

Reply to  Andy Deady
September 13, 2015 1:13 pm

And ask what the “disaster” would be.
Why should anyone care if the glaciers are gone?

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Gamecock
September 13, 2015 1:50 pm

The back-story is that glaciers are dependent on snowfall and heavy snowfall and deep accumulation provides water in summer when water from precipitation is rare. In the State of Washington, summer precipitation is low …
… when insolation and temperature is high. The high elevations with ice, snow, and cold water provide unique habitats. The cold streams and rivers at lower elevations also provide distinctive habitats. On the eastern side of the Cascades the water from the melting snow is like having a dozen extra reservoirs.
The glaciers on the volcanoes makes for photogenic outings, the sale of climbing and hiking gear, cameras (and at one time Kodachrome II), and sore feet. And like a great big old tree, they are interesting.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Gamecock
September 13, 2015 2:05 pm

Because then people like Obama’s daughters and their kids won’t be able to hike up to see them.

Reply to  Gamecock
September 13, 2015 6:02 pm

If any of those old Cascade volcanoes wake up, the more ice there is on them, the greater the resulting lahar.

Reply to  Gamecock
September 13, 2015 6:22 pm

Snow fields, not glaciers, provide water during summer.
Glaciers, by definition, represent water which does not melt in summer and is thus unavailable for any useful purpose.
Advancing glaciers destroy trees, strip the ground bare of soil right down to the bedrock, and wipe out every trace of macroscopic life in their path.
Receding glaciers, on the other hand, give back the water which has been long unavailable, free up ground for new meadows, forests, and other productive biomes, and allow restoration of the soil.
And besides for all of these reasons, any of the dormant volcanoes in that area (or any other area for that matter) that have glaciers will have a particularly deadly and destructive reawakening, whenever it inevitably comes. larger glaciers on a volcano will cause more destruction than small glaciers or no glaciers.
For anyone who is unaware of the fact, Mount Baker is considered an active volcano…so this guy Pelto is doubly an idiotic ignoramus, as everyone around there will find out the next time that volcano erupts. They will wish they had mined those glaciers for the ice cubes.

Reply to  Gamecock
September 14, 2015 9:48 am

“Glaciers, by definition, represent water which does not melt in summer and is thus unavailable for any useful purpose.”
No, that is not true. From:
“In polar and high-altitude alpine regions, glaciers generally accumulate more snow in the winter than they lose in the summer from melting, evaporation, or calving.”

Reply to  Gamecock
September 14, 2015 2:01 pm

Chris, your reading comprehension must be lacking.
If more is accumulated in winter than melts in summer, this is water which remains locked up as ice.
Do you understand the difference between a glacier and a snow field?
When glaciers are shrinking, this is when they are releasing their trapped water.
I mean, did you stop and think about what you posted?
BTW, if you are needing to look this stuff up, you are a college education and a lifetime of additional accumulated knowledge behind where I was 32 years ago.

Reply to  Gamecock
September 14, 2015 2:58 pm

Menicholas, you wrote: ‘Glaciers, by definition, represent water which does not melt in summer and is thus unavailable for any useful purpose.”
“Snow fields, not glaciers, provide water during summer.” And: “When glaciers are shrinking, this is when they are releasing their trapped water. Capish?”
You can’t even comprehend your own sentences, let alone those written by others.
Glaciers melt in the summer, even those that are not shrinking. In addition to glaciers, snow fields provide water through melting – though there are also permanent snowfields. Glaciers can release trapped water when they are growing, when they are shrinking, and when they are not changing in size. I do understand the difference between them, and have hiked on them on mountains such as Rainier and Adams.
From a site on glaciers: “Glaciers flow downslope because they accumulate mass (ice) in their upper portions (from precipitation and from wind-blown snow) and ablate (melt, sublimate and calve ice bergs) in their lower portions. This means that a glacier in a steady state (equilibrium) will not change in steepness or size, because accumulation = ablation.”
Therefore, a glacier in steady state does release trapped water.
Capish? It looks like your lifetime of accumulated knowledge needs a tune up.

September 13, 2015 1:00 pm

It has already been proven that these lunatics have been lying about nearly all the world’s glaciers. This is beyond ridiculous since we have so much information about many of these glaciers in the past and note that the warm freaks are lying about ice at the North and South Poles, too. Nakedly and nonstop.
They should all be arrested for fraud.

Reply to  emsnews
September 13, 2015 6:28 pm


Ian H
September 13, 2015 1:00 pm

What do you think the odds are that the Seattle Times, having had this brought to their attention, will publish a correction? Yeah – that is what I thought too.

September 13, 2015 1:01 pm

As I believe it’s been said before, glaciers (in general, ice) make a bad indicator for anthropogenic climate change. Almost as bad as tree ring data.

September 13, 2015 1:05 pm

I see that the Seattle Times article comes with the usual graph with the cherry-picked start time. I’d say that at some level Pelto has to know that what he’s saying is nonsense.

September 13, 2015 1:05 pm

Cliff Mass had a some words on this a few days ago.
Seattle Times Glacier Disaster

Reply to  rovingbroker
September 13, 2015 3:56 pm

Cliff Mass seems to have his own issues … beginning with defining the IPCC as the “respected INTERNATIONAL PROGRAM on Climate Change!”
And ending with ” By the end of the century, anthropogenic global warming will be large over our region and there will be a serious loss of lower-elevation glaciers.
Followed up by a sincere plug for supporting a carbon tax.

Reply to  teapartygeezer
September 13, 2015 4:15 pm

Dr. Pelto has been studying the Glaciers in the Cascades since 1983. It sounds like his
knowledge or awareness of anything prior to that time is missing. Like most alarmists, nothing ever changed prior to their own memory.
“Research assistants navigate around a supraglacial stream on Sholes Glacier as they make measurements Friday, Aug. 7, 2015, to assess the volume lost. The findings will be added to the 32 years of data recorded by glaciologist Mauri Pelto. Sholes Glacier, which is on the northeast slopes of Mount Baker, has receded more than 90 meters, or nearly 300 feet, Pelto said. (Sy Bean / The Seattle Times)”
“Federal research agencies rarely fund long-term monitoring, so Pelto cobbles together a shoestring budget every year from private grants and his own bank account. He recruits students and his adult children as field assistants.”
“Based on analysis of ancient forests that are emerging as the ice pulls back, Riedel estimates the region’s glaciers are smaller than they have been in at least 4,000 years.”

Reply to  teapartygeezer
September 17, 2015 2:20 pm

Here’s a question – IF a forest 4,000 years old is exposed by a receding glacier, THEN how many times has that forest been exposed in 4,000 years?
Because I really, really, really doubt the answer is ONCE… A carbon date of dead wood says when the tree last grew, it does NOT say how many times the glacier receded…

September 13, 2015 1:06 pm

Thanks for facts Don. And thank the Lord for WUWT !
So despite the second half of the 20th being warmer than the first half the glaciers are more extensive.
Glaciers are sustained by snowfall. Increasing glacier extent indicates more snowfall. More snowfall is just another case of the increased precipitation that is expected “in a warming world”. This is exactly the kind of thing that is predicted to result from global warming caused by CO2 emissions from buring fossil fuels.
You see whatever happens, AGW has all bases covered !

Reply to  Joey
September 13, 2015 6:48 pm

Mount Baker is said to be one of the snowiest places on Earth.
In 1999, the all time seasonal snowfall record was set there, when 95 feet (29 meters) of snow fell in one season!
And BTW, it is said that Mount Baker has a volume of snow and ice on it that exceeds all the other volcanoes (Except Mt Rainier) in the Cascades…COMBINED!
0.43 cubic miles of frozen water exist on this ticking time bomb of a mountain.
The last time it had a major eruption, lahars as deep as 90 feet roared down the mountain, and were still 25 feet high at a distance of 30 miles from the crater, and ash covered the ground for a distance of 40 miles!

Robert Austin
September 13, 2015 1:07 pm

Yes, this loss of ice is the result of human-caused warming,” said University of Washington glaciologist T.J. Fudge. “But I don’t think we’re quite there yet that we can say it definitively.”

Seattle Times quote. First he blurts it out like he has divine knowledge. Then he pulls back to a qualified position. Of course, most people fixate on the first assertion and pass over the pull back. Classic noble cause corruption possible tinged with the fishing for further grant money. Appropriate name for a climate scientist, though.

Reply to  Robert Austin
September 13, 2015 1:46 pm

Looks to me like he “fudged” on it.
(sorry, couldn’t pass it up.)

Dr. Bogus Pachysandra
Reply to  Dawtgtomis
September 13, 2015 2:50 pm

Pack it in Fudge!

Reply to  Dawtgtomis
September 13, 2015 6:52 pm

Dr. Pachysandra wins the internet for the entire week!

Reply to  Dawtgtomis
September 14, 2015 4:07 am

Is he the inventor of the “Fudge Factor”…?

Michael Jankowski
September 13, 2015 1:11 pm

Dana would say that Pelto is wrong, but in the right way.

September 13, 2015 1:15 pm

While patronizing the local “Dairy Barn” This summer I noticed my large-size mint chocolate-chip “Glacier” was not as big as last year’s were. I can only surmise that shrinking glaciers is this year’s theme.

September 13, 2015 1:16 pm

Don J. Easterbrook,
Thanks for the essay. It was timely and informative. It was a nice slapdown of a moron.
However, there is one item I often wonder about. Why do we love glaciers so much? I would like to see the planet much warmer and have far less glaciers. What was so bad about the warmth during the age of the dinosaurs anyway?
Disclosure: I live in Florida and love the summertime heat. Perhaps I am somewhat biased.

Reply to  markstoval
September 13, 2015 5:37 pm

I think we human Popsicles living in Northern Canada want to see global warming a whole lot more than you !!!! LOL…

September 13, 2015 1:17 pm

Would someone remind me again what the chosen start year is for most alarmista trends.
I wonder how closely these graphs also resemble the real history of Arctic sea ice?

John F. Hultquist
September 13, 2015 1:29 pm

Thanks Don.
I was born with a topo in my hip pocket. Love those maps. But if you keep using them in this manner the “gov” might make them disappear.
I guess when the POTUS says the ice is shrinking the researchers need to confirm this or lose funding.
Earlier this year Dave Tucker (Mount Baker Volcano Research Center) came over to Ellensburg and gave a presentation of the steam plume surveys he and others are doing. The talk and photos were about past eruptions and the rocks, and about the vent measurements, rather than ice.

September 13, 2015 1:30 pm

Don, if you just finished an analysis going back thousands of years, why do you only show recent data, with a benchmark of the “high” point around 1950? Also, is Mt. Baker representative of all the N. Cascades? Where is your work going to be published?

Reply to  Barry
September 13, 2015 2:11 pm

If you can’t answer your first question, I despair for you. Why did Pelto highlight the “mid 80s”

Reply to  David Johnson
September 13, 2015 2:56 pm

DJ, this might be why:
I guess you’re confident that temps. are going to cool back down?

Reply to  David Johnson
September 13, 2015 3:06 pm

First off, that’s just U.S. temperatures. The basic debate is about global warming.
When we look at global warming, we see that 2012 was cooler than other years:
If AGW is the culprit, it will affect glaciers all over the globe, not just the ones they cherry-pick.

pippen kool
Reply to  David Johnson
September 13, 2015 3:20 pm

Actually, only Washington temps, at least for this article.
And the point Easterbrk misses or ignores is it is that Pelto is worried about the future loss of glaciers, not the present loss.

Reply to  David Johnson
September 13, 2015 3:56 pm

USCRN and ClimDiv both show COOLING since USCRN started in 2005.
that 2012 warmest is a joke !

Reply to  Barry
September 13, 2015 4:40 pm

The maps and photos I showed are a small part of a much bigger picture but serve to unequivocally prove that Pelto’s claims are invalid. Adding material going back thousands of years is very interesting but would have made the story too long. Should be published in the next couple of months.

Reply to  Don Easterbrook
September 13, 2015 8:54 pm

There has been lots of adiabatic warming in the Pacific Northwest recently as salients of tropical air have created huge downward gradients there. Record temperatures in Eugene etc. Superstition rules the special ed hominid psyche. When it is hot in my neighborhood, God is punishing me.

Reply to  Don Easterbrook
September 14, 2015 9:58 am

Dr, Easterbrook, where are the mass balance measurements in your study?

September 13, 2015 1:36 pm

Even with no change in temperature the glaciers would be currently in retreat due to the lack of precipitation in the region recently. Once precipitation returns to more normal conditions, the ice will return.

Reply to  crosspatch
September 13, 2015 2:15 pm

Yes, even a glacier in that’s not melting will shrink by calving, sublimation and wind erosion if the supply of snow slows down. Maybe the question is, how many have newly begun the change from polar to temperate glaciers, rather than how much glacier mass has changed, as an indicator of warming.

Reply to  Dawtgtomis
September 13, 2015 2:15 pm
September 13, 2015 1:51 pm

Let’s get this right: glaciers atop a big ‘locked & loaded’ volcano are showing signs of melting, and folks are all atwitter about humanities perfidious contribution to this phenomenon.

Reply to  bobburban
September 13, 2015 10:19 pm

Sort of like a champagne cork??

michael hart
September 13, 2015 1:55 pm

Well presented data, Don. No more than was necessary.

Billy Liar
September 13, 2015 2:01 pm

I believe that the termini in Figures 5 and 7 are mis-identified in the 1950/1952 images. The terminus is not where the white stuff ends, it is where the ice, even if it covered with a layer of moraine, ends.
In Figure 5 it is very obvious that the 1950 terminus is where the stream emerges from the rock covered ice some way to the left of the yellow diamond. In Figure 7, it’s pretty obvious that moraine covered ice extends below and to the right of the yellow diamond, very slightly farther down the mountain than the 2014 image.
I am amazed that it is not generally known that moraine can make it very difficult to tell where glacier termini are located. Has no-one heard of ‘rock glaciers’?

Reply to  Billy Liar
September 13, 2015 4:44 pm

Yes, the exact position of the terminus of a retreating glacier is often difficult to see. I blew up the photos as much as possible. The exact terminus might be off a little bit, but not enough to affect the conclusion.

September 13, 2015 2:04 pm

Since the Seattle Times is relying on one unusually warm and dry year (2015), we should ask if this seems to be the ‘new’ pattern? And of course it is just an exception, not the new norm. Some recent past winters have been seen lots of mountain snow and some very little. Spring and summer conditions have ranged from record to near record warmth to record to near record cold. It seems much like the Dust Bowl conditions of the 1930s.
One record does stand out for Mt Baker in particular. Over the winter of 1998-99, Mt Baker had 1140 inches of snow. That’s 95 feet, a record for the mountain, a record for Washington State, a record for the USA, and an all-time world record snowfall. I wonder if we will see a repeat when we come out of the present strong El Nino? The record in 1998-99 came as we were exiting the Super El Nino of 1998.
Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)

Reply to  gordonfulks
September 13, 2015 2:11 pm

Oops, I forgot the reference on the record Mt Baker snowfall:

September 13, 2015 2:15 pm

Hey Mod. In all the photo pics of the glaciers in the article Don says “Right photo/Left photo”. Guess page wouldn’t let him do that. They’re actually top/bottom…if that’s something you think should be fixed.

Reply to  Dahlquist
September 13, 2015 5:32 pm

They appear as right and left on my screen. Your problem might be in the size of your screen.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Katherine
September 13, 2015 8:45 pm

Correct. I can get them to go one above the other by squeezing the window of the browser to about half my screen.

Reply to  Katherine
September 13, 2015 8:46 pm

Thank you. Guess I need a larger screen.

September 13, 2015 2:24 pm

Comparison of the position of the terminus of the Roosevelt glacier on USGS topographic maps of 2014 (blue line) and 1952 (green line) (Fig. 1). Both the Coleman and Roosevelt glaciers are more extensive now than they were in 1952.
Last Ice Age started in N. America, possibly much further north east.
300 m expansion in 50 years, may not sound much, but with even small increase in the winter precipitation and small drop in the summer temperatures, the rate of expansion could easily multiply. Perhaps next Ice Age may not be as far of as we would hope. Current interglacial has past its ‘sale by date’.

James at 48
Reply to  vukcevic
September 14, 2015 8:33 am

Just think of the disruption of a glacial advance in the Skagit Valley or even the Puget Sound Metro Area.

George Devries Klein, PhD, PG, FGSA
September 13, 2015 2:37 pm

Excellent summary with excellent data – well illustrated.
I knew an Australia consulting geologist who’s byline was “Theory is fine, facts are better, experience beats them both.” This summary by Easterbrook proves the last two (facts, experience) trumps journalism and computer models (i.e. the

Reply to  George Devries Klein, PhD, PG, FGSA
September 13, 2015 4:45 pm

Thanks–I also like “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

September 13, 2015 2:55 pm

When will the damnable deniers stop confusing the issue with facts?

September 13, 2015 2:59 pm

Well good to see climate change media has given up on cherry picking data and just went straight to making it up. Why not, it’s easier and pays more per word.

September 13, 2015 3:16 pm

You can see why ‘Climate Change’ is bottom of everyone’s list of life-concerns : when the Warmistas start talking about Glaciers in the North Cascades, everyone’s eyes glaze over and they start to snore.

September 13, 2015 3:27 pm

Thanks, Dr. Easterbrook. Very well-documented article.
I have visited a glacier terminus, the best part was getting back to base.

September 13, 2015 3:33 pm

The Leclercqu et al world glacier study found that glacier retreat slowed after 1950. The first half of the 20th century had a faster retreat. So how do these liars and Obama get away with this level of corruption and fraud ?

Bruce Cobb
September 13, 2015 3:49 pm

Olympic National Park “scientist” Bill Baccus says;
“Our glaciers are already struggling”…
Because glaciers are like people, and have feewings.

September 13, 2015 3:56 pm

I noticed you used 2014 data for your comparisons. Is there any info as to where these glacier terminus’s ended up after this summer. Is it possible that they retreated 1km to the 1952 terminus in one season? Maybe Modis could photograph them. Or someone with a helicopter could photograph them now. Just sayin…I remain a skeptic in all ways.
(I remain a fan of you, and I doubt they retreated that much in 1 year)

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
September 13, 2015 4:47 pm

Satellite imagery for 2015 doesn’t show any significant difference.

Reply to  Don J. Easterbrook
September 13, 2015 5:10 pm

Thanks, I didn’t think there would be much of a difference, but thanks for the reply. Great work and great post – excellent!

September 13, 2015 4:11 pm

This info was submitted to the Seattle Times and they are going to publish it?

Reply to  verdeviewer
September 13, 2015 4:48 pm

That would be surprising!

September 13, 2015 4:20 pm

I noticed a long time ago that comparative photographs of glaciers always leave out the middle part of the 20th century. I know why, and everybody reading this knows why. But almost nobody else does.

Reply to  ELCore (@OneLaneHwy)
September 13, 2015 4:50 pm

Too many people compare the terminal position of a glacier at the end of a cold period with that at the end of warm period–bad idea. That’s why I like 1952 (end of the 1915-1950 warm period) and 2000+ (end of the 1978-2000 warm period).

September 13, 2015 4:22 pm

Great work Don Easterbrook.
This is a big deal – shoddy blatant falsehoods in support of political activism (economic sabotage) printed in high profile MSM, utterly demolished by a real scientist (geologist) Dr Easterbrook. In a functioning democracy this should count for something.

Boulder Skeptic
September 13, 2015 5:27 pm

Dr Easterbrook,
This comment applies to your upcoming publication of these data, and is not intended to mean that you should change the post above.
Don’t mean to be pedantic, but where you have side-by-side photos, I would recommend a consistent presentation of them. Chronological would make sense (i.e. old on left, new on right). You have a mix above (i.e. Fig 3 is new on left and old on right, while Fig 5, 7, 8 are opposite). Additionally, it would be great if the orientation of the topo’s could be the same orientation as the pictures.
I guess it’s the technical editor in me from one of my degree studies from the, now liberal bastion, UW in Seattle.
Good stuff. Keep fighting the good fight.

September 13, 2015 9:07 pm

[Fake email address. ~mod.]

Reply to  Magma
September 13, 2015 11:25 pm

Did Pelto say these glaciers retreating was disastrous, or did he not?
If he is aware that these are cyclic changes, then what is the basis for this needlessly alarmist statement?
And how is a retreating glacier a disaster, even if it is not a cyclical phenomenon?

Reply to  Menicholas
September 14, 2015 9:42 am

“And how is a retreating glacier a disaster, even if it is not a cyclical phenomenon?”
1) The glaciers melt water feeds streams that are important migration/breeding grounds for salmon and other fish 2) the water is used for agricultural purposes

Reply to  Menicholas
September 14, 2015 1:55 pm

Try to keep up Chris.

Reply to  Menicholas
September 14, 2015 3:00 pm

Try to add a useful comment, Menicholas, rather than just snark.

Reply to  Magma
September 14, 2015 3:57 am

Much of the criticism lies with the media report in the Seattle Times Alarmist way of reporting… Letting things go unsaid, saying things not true, confusing statements maybe / robustly / possibly attributed to others / half truths and half lies, etc. That Pelto would let himself be used in this manner by a dishonest press shows that he is no saint in this matter.

Steven F
September 13, 2015 9:19 pm

Interesting note, The Seattle times has also reported that Mount Saint Helens has a new glacier.

Reply to  Steven F
September 14, 2015 8:27 am

What happened to the old ones?

Billy Liar
Reply to  bobburban
September 14, 2015 11:27 am

They blew away.

Greg Roane
Reply to  bobburban
September 15, 2015 8:53 am

I just spewed pepsi on my monitor, dang it! Stop that!!!!

Reply to  Steven F
September 20, 2015 4:02 pm

This comment is a little late, but it is interesting that Sandi Doughton wrote both recent Cascade glacier articles for the Times. The Mt. St. Helens story appeared in print on Sunday, July 5, and the front page headline above the fold was, “FIRE AND ICE.” Robert Felix at iceagenow did a post on the Times article, and disagrees with much of it. (I’m sure he enjoyed the print edition headline.)

James at 48
September 14, 2015 8:30 am

I had not realized just how low elevation levels North Cascade termini were at. Some are in the upper 3000s of feet. That’s just a hop, skip and a jump from lowland areas populated by millions. We’re only a few short clicks in time past the Great Melt. It would take very little to bring the ice back down into the midst of our core areas of upper West Coast population and agriculture.

Joe Kbetcha
September 14, 2015 8:40 am

Is the terminus a valid proxy for mass balance?

MarkS Bvu
September 14, 2015 9:56 am

Don E., Thanks for adding some facts and depth to the discussion. It’s the kind of thing that we ought to see much more of in American media. I’d just pose one further thought: Since the above public Comments on your note still reflect some rebuttals to your facts, why shouldn’t Citizens who believe in policy based on facts (rather than the Progressive’s mantra that “the end justifies any means”) – – provide rebuttals like yours, but also add in: “I’m a believer in facts and in the American People, so let’s seek a televised forum, where we can have a factual debate”. Each side will be given 30 minutes to present their facts; then each side gets 30 minutes to show why their facts are correct and the opponents are flawed. The discussion will also have a balanced Panel of 3 members, each with expertise on the subject and they each get 10 minutes for their appraisal. Takes 2.5 hours you say? Yes. But the issue of “Warming Alarmism” is a costly one. Citizens need to invest some time to be sure we’re not frittering away hard-earned money on foolish sloganeering. Good companies don’t spend their funds without a sound cost-benefit analysis. Government rarely provides such an assessment. That’s why Government is BROKEN (i.e., fractured) and Americans have an $18T debt that is slowing causing us all to soon be BROKE (i.e. impoverished) as well.

September 14, 2015 10:28 am

Don E., Thx for your publication of some solid data. It is refreshing to see arguments posed in a factual way, rather than often relying on the Progressive philosophy that “the ends justify the means”. I’d offer one further thought. As per some of the comments above, there are those who assert other data exist to justify the “glacier disappearance” – – even if some of that data is just relevant to a short slice in time or space.
How about this: we the public ought to have a televised forum to inform the People of the facts and put up for public assessment a better version of what the truth really is. Good companies generally use structured cost-benefit analyses to help decide the validity of a course of action. Government seldom does this. So let’s allocate public TV time for monthly debates on major issues, structured like this: (i) each side gets 30 minutes to present data-driven arguments. (ii) then each side gets 30 minutes to comment on the validity of the other side’s data. (iii) then an objective, panel of 3 experts each get 10 minutes to summarize their appraisal.
But, you say that’s 2.5 hours of time! Yes. But “Warming Alarmism” costs our Nation a lot of $$. Citizens have a right to know if the government is frittering away their hard-earned money on philosophical sloganeering. Moreover, if both sides have valid data pointing to a different approach – – that opens a pathway to a strengthened, integrated solution. Not such a bad thing.

September 14, 2015 3:04 pm
Randy Alanko
September 14, 2015 7:33 pm

At Paradise about 1965, the Park Service had displays of the Mt. Rainier glacial retreats through the 20th century(photos and maps). I remember worrying about the disappearing glaciers then as a 10 year-old.
Thanks for the excellent article Dr. Easterbrook, Go Viks!

September 14, 2015 8:36 pm

I hiked to Heliotrope Ridge (next to and southwest of Coleman Glacier and at the left edge of Figure 1) on August 16, 2015, and took quite a few photographs of Coleman Glacier and Roosevelt Glacier from that vantage point. The terminus of Roosevelt Glacier was about where it is shown in Figure 3, except that the ice extends over the precipice and to the base of it at the northeast edge of the glacier and nearly to the top of it on the southwest, but is farther up-slope in the middle of the glacier.
Looking for another photograph of the glacier, I opened Google Earth. The photo of the glacier there was taken on July 14, 2013, and appears to show the glacier extending farther down the slope on the west edge and not as far on the east. I would guess that there might have been some very small amount of recession of Roosevelt Glacier, taken as a whole, in those two years. Both my photos and the one on Google Earth suggest that the terminus depicted in Figure 1 is incorrect. It seems to me to be unlikely that the glacier would have extended over that precipice, which is at least a hundred feet tall, during the intervening year. A glance at the contours in Figure 1 will reveal the presence of that precipice, and it is shown clearly in Figure 3.
My photos and those in Figure 3 both suggest that the terminus of Roosevelt Glacier has not moved much at all.
It’s difficult to determine the length of Coleman glacier from Heliotrope Ridge, but the Google Earth photos suggest that Figure 1 depicts the extent of Coleman Glacier correctly.
Today, I was up in Glacier, WA, photographing Coho salmon on their way upstream in Gallup Creek (misspelled “Gallop” on Google Earth) to spawn. They’ve been in that part of the creek for at least a week, and their numbers appear to be about average. There were lots of fish, and several spawned-out carcasses in a short stretch of the creek. It was pretty stinky there. The creek has about normal flow for this time of year. The “drought” does not appear to have affected streamflow or, apparently, the Coho returning to spawn.
It rained, off and on.

Michael J. Dunn
September 15, 2015 1:07 pm

I can’t help it: snow pack and glacier are essentially indistinguishable. They are both ice (duh!), and the glaciers are formed by compaction / compression of snow (and maybe hail). All the mountains in the Cascades will lose “whiteness” in the summertime, but will recover it in spades during the wintertime. Mt. Baker may be slightly exceptional, and Dr. Easterbrook might want to comment. Its position in the North Cascades brings it into the flow of exceptionally bitter winter winds (“north-easters”) that come down out of the arctic Canadian Rockies along the Fraser River canyon. I know this because I grew up in Bellingham.
Oh, yes. Did this nitwit, Pelto, ever consider that Mt. Baker is a VOLCANO, and that it has been active over the past 4,000 years? One might suppose that VOLCANIC ACTIVITY might have an influence on the size and duration of local glaciers. Just sayin’…

September 20, 2015 6:55 pm

where did the 1947 satellite photos come from? Roswell NM?

September 20, 2015 6:59 pm

Great work. I hope this material is seen by all who read the original article and the author shamed into hiding. He should be severely chastised.
This reminds me of times in the 1970s when environmentalists trying to kill the nuclear power industry came up with outrageous claims about dangers from nuclear radiation. (Some of the same people back then have joined the global warming scare movement today.) It took 100 hours of true science to rebut one hour of baloney.
James H. Rust, professor of nuclear engineering

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