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 Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Relations between atmospheric circulation and mass balance of South Cascade Glacier, Washington, USA|
|Series title||Arctic and Alpine Research|
|Publisher||INSTAAR, University of Colorado|