CLEVELAND - New research implies that glaciers in the Pacific Northwest have declined by up to half due to man-made global warming. But is it true?
"It's worse than we thought!"
That's what you might think by reading a newly-released research study by Portland State University. The report claims 12 glaciers on Mount Adams, near Yakima, Washington, have declined by a whopping 50-percent since 1904. The study also claims the glaciers are receding faster than the ice on nearby Mount Rainier and Mount Hood, which have declined as much as 32-percent over the last century.
The scientists conclude that water content in snow packs throughout the Cascade Mountains could decline by as much as 50-percent by the year 2070. It sounds the alarm for water supplies to near-by communities like Yakima.
So, what is to blame for the warming? Of course, man-made climate change. According to the study author, Dr. Andrew Fountain, changes in glaciers over time are qualitatively linked to temperature changes rather than changes in snowfall amounts.
Hmmmm. So, what could be the problem here? Answer: The state of Washington is not warming. See below:
According to the National Climatic Data Center, run by our own federal government, temperatures across Washington State DECLINED .07 degrees/decade Celsius from 1895 and 1985. Temperatures across the state dipped even more from 1986 on (See below).
They've gone down .39 degrees Celsius per decade from 1986 to 2011. These two periods of down-trending annual temperatures were separated by a curious and unexplained temperature step change increase of 3.6 degrees F occurring between 1985 and 1986.
Another interesting fact about the snow pack in the Cascade Mountains: it's INCREASING. Note the graph below. Snow pack is up a whopping 20 percent in just 30 years across the Cascades.
In fact, many glaciers in the Pacific Northwest are actually growing.
"The Nisqually Glacier on Mt. Rainier is growing. The Emmons Glacier on Mt. Rainier is growing. Glaciers on Glacier Peak in northern Washington are growing. And Crater Glacier on Mt. Saint Helens is now larger than it was before the 1980 eruption," said Robert D. Felix, author of "Not by Fire but by Ice."
And it doesn't end there. All seven glaciers on California's Mount Shasta are growing. This includes the state's largest, the three-mile-long Whitney Glacier. Three of Mount Shasta's glaciers have doubled in size since 1950.
Alaska has shown glacial growth as well. They are growing in Alaska for the first time in 250 years. In May of last year, Alaska's Hubbard Glacier was advancing at the rate of seven feet (two meters) per day – more than half-a-mile per year.
"And in Icy Bay, at least three glaciers advanced a third of a mile (one half kilometer) in one year," according to Felix.
"The guilty party may be Andrew Fountain at Portland State University. He has hawked this sort of rubbish for years by picking those cases where glaciers have retreated and ignoring those where they have advanced," said Dr. Gordon Fulks, PhD, a physicist from Oregon, "He also chooses the period of record as the entire 20th century, when he knows that much of the retreat occurred up to and during the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s before CO2 could have been a "problem."
"He is one of many scientists who stumbled into the limelight and big-time grant money with bad science," said Meteorologist Joe D'Aleo of WeatherBELL Analytics. "He found himself in demand because the results of his work could be used to strengthen the apparent influence of man on climate.
"We certainly don't know everything there is to know about climate, but we do know that Orwellian pronouncements about a catastrophe are dangerous propaganda disguised as science." Fulks said.
Here are a few links for further information about glaciers: