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|Title||Changes in glacier and alpine runoff in the north Cascade range, Washington, USA 1985-1993|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||1996|
From 1985 to 1993, the mean summer temperature was 1.1 degrees C above the long-term mean and the mean winter precipitation was 11% below the long-term mean at the eight Washington State Cascade Mountain weather stations. The effect of this climate fluctuation on glacier and alpine runoff has been examined in five North Cascade basins. From 1985 to 1993 the two basins with less than 1% glacier-covered area experienced mean 1 July to 30 September (late summer) runoff 36% below the long-term mean. The three moderately glaciated basins (3, 6 and 14% glaciated, respectively) experienced a 13% decline in late summer runoff for the same period. A significant change in late summer runoff has occurred in the North Cascades and this change is less pronounced in glacier basins. The cause of the change is decreased winter precipitation and earlier onset of spring melting of the alpine snowpack, followed by above average summer temperatures and an earlier summer melt of alpine snowpack. The smaller decrease in runoff in glacial basins is due to increased ablation and consequent glacier runoff due to high summer temperatures. However, glacier retreat is also reducing glacier runoff.