Outdoors

Study: Mount Adams glaciers shrink 50 percent since 1904

Associated Press Mount Adams tested Derek Mamoyac’s will to survive as the injured climber toughed out five days before being rescued. (File Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Associated Press Mount Adams tested Derek Mamoyac’s will to survive as the injured climber toughed out five days before being rescued. (File Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

CLIMATE CHANGE — In the first comprehensive study of its kind, a Portland State University study has found Mount Adams' 12 glaciers have shrunk by nearly half since 1904 and are receding faster than those of nearby sister volcanoes Mount Hood and Mount Rainier.

Mount Adams, 54 air miles from Yakima, is another sign of gradually warming temperatures that — if continued as expected by researchers — will mean significant problems for the water-dependent Yakima Valley, according to reports by the Oregonian and the Associated Press.

The study lends urgency to an earlier federal report that shows the water content of Cascade Mountain snowpacks could dwindle by as much as 50 percent by the 2070s.

The latest work on glaciers on the 12,276-foot Mount Adams by a Portland State University geology professor and a student team was based on aerial photography, geographic information system mapping, buttressed by historic photos taken by hikers.

The results show Adams' glaciers have melted away 49 percent of their coverage area since 1904.

Over generally the same time period Mount Rainier's glaciers lost 24 percent of coverage area and on Mount Hood the decline has been some 32 percent.

Some scientists suggest Adams gets less moisture because it is just to the east of the Cascades crest.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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