Climate Driven Retreat of Mount Baker Glaciers and Changing Water Resources

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This book presents the impact of climate change on Mount Baker glaciers, USA, and the rivers surrounding them. Glaciers are natural reservoirs that yield their resource primarily on warm dry summer days when other sources are at their lowest yield. This natural tempering of drought conditions will be reduced as they retreat.
Mount Baker, a volcano in the Cascades of Washington, is currently host to 12 principal glaciers with an area of 36.8 km2. The glaciers yield 125 million cubic meters of water each summer that is a resource for salmon, irrigation and hydropower to the Nooksack River and Baker River watersheds. Recent rapid retreat of all 22 glaciers is altering the runoff from the glaciers, impacting both the discharge and temperature of the Nooksack and Baker River. Over the last 30 years we have spent 270 nights camped on the mountain conducting 10,500 observations of snow depth and melt rate on Mount Baker. This data combined with observations of terminus change, area change and glacier runoff over the same 30 years allow an unusually comprehensive story to be told of the effects of climate change to Mount Baker Glaciers and the rivers that drain them.

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