The Washington Post

Mount Rainier has lost 14 percent of its ice and snow

Survey shows that Mount Rainier has lost 14 percent of its ice and snow

About 14 percent of the ice and permanent snow atop Washington state’s Mount Rainier melted in the past four decades, a new study suggests. Researchers arrived at that figure by comparing the estimated thickness and extent of ice seen in a 1970 aerial survey with those measured in 2007 and 2008. All but two of the 28 glaciers and snowfields on the mountain have thinned and shortened at their lower edges, and the exceptions probably thickened only because large amounts of rock fell upon the ice in recent years and insulated it from warming temperatures.

Overall, the volcanic peak lost enough ice to cover the entire state of Rhode Island to a depth of nearly eight inches during the 38-year interval between surveys, the researchers report online in the journal Geology. Mount Rainier’s ice and snow coverage expanded from the late 1950s to around 1980 during a wetter-than-normal phase of a climate cycle called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. These recent trends indicate that Mount Rainier’s glaciers are very sensitive to warming and could grow again with modest changes in temperature or precipitation, the scientists say.

ScienceNow, the daily online news service of the journal Science

Comments
Show Comments
0 Comments
Washington Post Subscriptions

Get 2 months of digital access to The Washington Post for just 99¢.

A limited time offer for Apple Pay users.

Buy with
Cancel anytime

$9.99/month after the two month trial period. Sales tax may apply.
By subscribing you agree to our Terms of Service, Digital Products Terms of Sale & Privacy Policy.

Get 2 months of digital access to The Washington Post for just 99¢.

Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

You have signed up for the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

Thank you for signing up
You'll receive e-mail when new stories are published in this series.
Most Read

national

science

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing
Read content from allstate
Content from Allstate This content is paid for by an advertiser and published by WP BrandStudio. The Washington Post newsroom was not involved in the creation of this content. Learn more about WP BrandStudio.
We went to the source. Here’s what matters to millennials.
A state-by-state look at where Generation Y stands on the big issues.