'Disastrous': Low snow, heat eat away at Northwest glaciers
In more than three decades of field work, Mauri Pelto has taken the measure of Washington’s glaciers during seasons of record-breaking snow and years that broke skiers’ hearts. But he’s never seen anything like this summer.
“The best word for it is disastrous,” said Pelto, who recently wrapped up his annual survey in the North Cascades. On mountain after mountain, he and his team encountered bare ice and gushing meltwater on glaciers that would normally be blanketed with snow. On average, Pelto estimates glaciers across the rugged mountain range will lose 5 to 10 percent of their volume before the summer is over.