Satellite reveals devastating glacier melt on Washington’s Mount Rainier following historic heatwave

·2-min read
 This satellite image, from 11 July 2021, shows the extent of the snow melt at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state  (European Union, Copernicus Sentinel-2 imagery)
This satellite image, from 11 July 2021, shows the extent of the snow melt at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state (European Union, Copernicus Sentinel-2 imagery)

New satellite images of Mount Rainier in Washington State this week reveal the impact last month’s unprecedented heatwave had on the snowmelt.

A deadly heatwave, exacerbated by the climate crisis, smashed temperature record after temperature record in the US Northwest and Canada over recent weeks.

The extreme heatwave was caused by a “heat dome” of high pressure over the region and left hundreds of people dead.

Mount Rainier is one of America’s most iconic scenes and the largest active stratovolcano in the Cascade range, around 60 miles south of Seattle.

At the end of June, the city broke its previous temperature record from 2009 and hit 108F (42.2C).

Mount Rainier seen from downtown Seattle on June 9, 2019. The mountain suffered devastating, rapid snowmelt during the recent deadly heatwave in the Pacific Northwest (Getty Images for Rock'n'Roll Mar)
Mount Rainier seen from downtown Seattle on June 9, 2019. The mountain suffered devastating, rapid snowmelt during the recent deadly heatwave in the Pacific Northwest (Getty Images for Rock'n'Roll Mar)

Mt Rainier did not escape the impacts of the triple-digit heat. According to scientists at Washington State University, the glaciers in the state have gone through the most severe and rapid melting episode of the last 100 years.

The Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC) also reported that it took just three weeks from around mid-June for 110 inches of snow to melt at Paradise, an area at around 5,400ft on the south slope.

Mount Rainier, the iciest peak in the United States, lost about 30 per cent of its snowpack as a consequence of the heatwave.

Scientists are also warning that the unusual absence of snow will cause a lengthening and intensification of the fire season across the area.

More than one million acres have burned in 68 large fires and complexes across 12 states in the US West, the National Interagency Fire Center said on Wednesday, including in Washington State.

Hundreds of people in the town of Nespelem, on the Colville Indian Agency towards the north of the state, were under mandatory evacuation due to “imminent and life-threatening” danger as wildfires caused by lightning strikes earlier this year raced through parched vegetation and trees.

Read More

Heatwave causing ‘biggest glacier melt in Washington state in a century’

EU unveils landmark climate change plan with tougher targets for foreign companies and transport industry

Seal freed from plastic ring around its head released back into wild

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting