Relations between atmospheric circulation and mass balance of South Cascade Glacier, Washington, USA

Arctic and Alpine Research
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Abstract

The yearly net mass balance of South Cascade Glacier, Washington, has decreased since the mid-1970s. Results show that the decrease is primarily caused by a significant decrease in the winter mass balance. The decrease in winter mass balance is caused, in part, by changes in winter mean atmospheric circulation that began during the mid-1970s. Approximately 60% of the variability in winter mass balance can be explained by variations in winter mean 700-mb heights over western Canada. Since the mid-1970s, there has been an increase in winter mean 700-mb heights over western Canada and the northern western contiguous United States and a decrease in winter mean 700-mb heights in the eastern North Pacific Ocean centered near the Aleutian Islands. These changes in atmospheric circulation indicate a decrease in the movement of storms and moisture from the Pacific Ocean into the western contiguous United States. In addition, the increase in winter mean 700-mb heights over western Canada and the northern western contiguous United States indicates an increase in subsidence, which results in a warming and drying of the air that further reduces precipitation and also increases the ratio of rain to snow during the cold season. These factors contribute to below-average winter mass balances.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Relations between atmospheric circulation and mass balance of South Cascade Glacier, Washington, USA
Series title Arctic and Alpine Research
DOI 10.2307/1551953
Volume 27
Issue 3
Year Published 1995
Language English
Publisher INSTAAR, University of Colorado
Description 8 p.
First page 226
Last page 233