Researcher says shrinking glaciers on Mount Hood point to climat - KPTV - FOX 12

Researcher says shrinking glaciers on Mount Hood point to climate change

Posted: Updated: Oct 22, 2015 11:38 PM

If you've lived in Oregon for a while, the image of Mount Hood bare – looking more like a hill instead of world-class skiing destination – is bizarre. Local experts say it is easy to see the glaciers are slowly disappearing and they say it points to climate change. 

Dr. Andrew Fountain with Portland State University monitors the glaciers on Mount Hood using aerial images from over the years. He said it is shocking to see the shrinking snowpack on Mount Hood, but what is even more concerning is the impact it could have on communities down in the lowlands.  

Fountain said our drinking water is at risk. He said the ice melts fastest in the summertime but the recent mix of no rain and diminished runoff is a bad combination. He says this is more of a scientific issue than a political one, and that we should all be paying attention.

"Retreating glaciers means climate warming," Fountain told Fox 12. "I don't think there's any way to get around it. We can debate about it, but the glaciers are evidence of that. When they start advancing you can talk to me about climate cooling, but until then we're talking about climate warming."

There are 12 glaciers on Mount Hood, and Fountain said the ones on the west and south sides are in the most trouble. That is because glaciers at lower elevations, such as the Sandy Glacier, are melting faster than the ice is able to come down to replace it.

Fountain said this is not just an Oregon issue. Mountains in Alaska and even ranges across Europe are dealing with the same problem, which could eventually contribute to the rising sea level. 

If temperatures continue to rise, Mount Hood could stay bare late into the winter season.

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