Historical Glacier and Climate Fluctuations at Mount Hood, Oregon

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Terminus fluctuations of five glaciers and the correspondence of these fluctuations to temperature and precipitation patterns were assessed at Oregon's Mount Hood over the period 1901–2001. Historical photographs, descriptions, and climate data, combined with contemporary GPS measurements and GIS analysis, revealed that each glacier experienced overall retreat, ranging from −62 m at the Newton Clark Glacier to −1102 m at the Ladd Glacier. Within this overall trend, Mount Hood's glaciers experienced two periods each of retreat and advance. Glaciers retreated between 1901 and 1946 in response to rising temperatures and declining precipitation. A mid-century cool, wet period led to glacier advances. Glaciers retreated from the late 1970s to the mid-1990s as a result of rising temperatures and generally declining precipitation. High precipitation in the late 1990s caused slight advances in 2000 and 2001. The general correspondence of Mount Hood's glacier terminus fluctuations with glaciers in Washington and Oregon suggests that regional, decadal-scale weather and climate events, driven by the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, play a key role in shaping atmosphere-cryosphere interactions in Pacific Northwest mountains. Deviations from the general glacier fluctuation pattern may arise from local differences in glacier aspect, altitude, size, and steepness as well as volcanic and geothermal activity, topography, and debris cover.


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Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research


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