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Whitney Glacier, Mount Shasta snow free once more in 2022 – From a Glacier’s Perspective



Whitney Glacier on August 25, 2022 in Sentinel picture. Inexperienced arrows separation factors, yellow arrows remaining snowpack

The summer season of 2021 proved to be catastrophic for Whitney Glacier on Mount Shasta, California by way of quantity loss, ~15% resulting in long run impacts, such because the 50% space discount and 1000 m retreat since 2005.  The glacier misplaced 100% of its 2021 snowpack and was within the technique of separating into three segments. In 2022 it was essential for the glacier to offset a few of this loss with a wholesome retained snowpack by way of the sumer. Sadly by mid-August it’s evident that the glacier will once more be snow free by finish of summer season in 2022.  This may proceed the fast space and quantity loss and proceed the separation course of.

Right here we look at native climate information and Sentinel imagery as an instance the situations in 2022. The winter of 2022 began off nicely with close to report December snowfall, adopted by restricted snowfall and temperatures averaging +3 C in Shasta County, till one other huge month in April. The outcomes was nicely under common snowpack in early spring. A cool moist April and Could preserved the restricted snowpack. July skilled common temperatures 2.2 C above regular in Shasta County (NCEI-NOAA County Mapping)

Whitney Glacier in  Sentinel photos from 8-30-2020, 8-31-2021 and 8-15-2022. Inexperienced arrows separation factors, yellow arrows remaining snowpack and T=terminus location

A comparability of August snowcover from 2020-2022 illustrates the small patch that remained in 2021, yellow arrow, and the small patches left in mid-August of 2022. The continued separation is obvious at two areas sho.w with inexperienced arrows. From August 2020-August 2022 the glacier space has declined from 0.72 km 2 to 0.57 km 2 a ~20% loss.  The width of the glacier on the two arrows has been diminished by ~50% to 50 m on the decrease elevation of 3250 mand 100 m on the higher elevation of 3600 m. A key problem this summer season once more has been the excessive temperatures in July and August, specifically the excessive minimal temperatures, stopping the snow floor from freezing at night time and shutting off the soften. At Grey Butte, 2450 m, the distant climate station signifies a interval from July 9-August 7 the place the temperature by no means dropped under 10 C (50 F).

Grey Butte summer season temperatures at an hourly interval (Information from Mount Shasta Avalanche Middle)

The rate in two main icefalls above every of the separation factors is declining based mostly on the NASA_IT’s LIVE software. The diminished flux mixed with excessive summer season soften in 2021 and 2022 will proceed to speed up the separation.

Velcoity knowledge for 2 icefall areas on Whitney Glacier 2019-early 2022, from NASA_ITs-LIVE software

Whitney Glacier Icefall on the inexperienced arrow seen on 8-15-2022 ( Mount Shasta Avalanche Middle). Word the skinny higher arm of the glacier.



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