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Thu., Jan. 19, 2012, 7:01 a.m.

Scientist pegs decline of glaciers in Olympic National Park

Fog sits in a valley near Olympic National Park's High Divide Trail, with glaciated peaks in the background (Associated Press)
Fog sits in a valley near Olympic National Park's High Divide Trail, with glaciated peaks in the background (Associated Press)

CLIMATE CHANGE -- On the heels of a report on the decline of glaciers on Mount Adams, a scientist in Olympic National Park  says the Olympic Peninsula's glaciers have shrunk by an average of 15 percent since the 1980s, with one completely disappearing.

Ferry Glacier, one of the 60 largest at the park in 1982, disappeared from its rocky niche in the Bailey Range, according to the Associated Press.

Olympic National Park physical scientist Bill Baccus says another glacier, Lillian, has “virtually disappeared.”

Baccus has been studying the park’s 311 glaciers in detail since 2010. He says there are more glaciers now because larger ones have broken up. In 1982, researchers found 266 glaciers.

The most recent study found that Blue Glacier — the largest one — has lost 18 percent of its mass since 1982.

He says the average air temperature in the Pacific Northwest has gone up 3 degrees Fahrenheit since 1920.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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