First Advisor

Andrew G. Fountain

Date of Publication

Spring 7-10-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Geology






Glaciers -- North Cascades (B.C. and Wash.), Climatic changes



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 96 pages)


Glaciers in the North Cascades store winter snowfall as ice and release it in late summer as melt, providing an important regional source of water and hydroelectric energy. The future of glaciers in the North Cascades, Washington, were evaluated using a regional glaciation model driven by the Community Climate System Model 4 global climate model. The climate model was coupled with three Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs), 2.6, 4.5, and 8.5. These RCPs provide a business-as-usual scenario (RCP 8.5), which assumes society makes little to no efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a best-case scenario (RCP 2.6) with strong attempts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and a moderate scenario (RCP 4.5). Spun up from 850 C.E., modeled glacier area for 1970 was 96-102% of observed. By 2100 the predicted area relative to the total observed area in 1900 was 42% for RCP 2.6, 16% for RCP 45, and 5% for RCP 8.5. By 2100 only glaciers on high peaks, such as Mt. Baker and Glacier Peak, will remain (145.98 km2, RCP 2.6; 70.49 km2, RCP 4.5; 16.82 km2, RCP 8.5) and entirely gone by 2200 in any of the three climate scenarios.


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