"Mt. Rainier's Retreating Glaciers Are Making a Mess"

"The fallout from Mt. Rainier's shrinking glaciers is beginning to roll downhill, and nowhere is the impact more striking than on the volcano's west side. ...

As receding glaciers expose crumbly slopes, vast amounts of gravel and sediment are being sluiced into the rivers that flow from the Northwest's tallest peak. Much of the material sweeps down in rain-driven slurries called debris flows, like those that repeatedly have slammed Mt. Rainier National Park's Westside Road. ...

Similar dynamics are playing out at all the region's major glaciated peaks, from Mt. Jefferson to Mt. Baker, says research hydrologist Gordon Grant, of the US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station in Corvallis, Ore.

Climate experts blame global warming, triggered by emissions from industries and cars, for much of the ongoing retreat of glaciers worldwide."

Sandi Doughton reports for the Seattle Times/AP January 20, 2010.

See Also:

"UN Panel 'Regrets' Exaggeration Of Himalayan Thaw" (Reuters)

Thursday, January 21, 2010