Environment

OSU Researchers Studying Collier Glacier's Shrinkage

OPB | Sept. 7, 2010 1:57 a.m. | Updated: July 17, 2012 1:07 a.m. | Portland, OR

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The Collier Glacier in the central Oregon Cascades has shrunk by at least twenty percent in the last three decades.

That’s an estimate from an Oregon State University graduate student who is monitoring the glacier. Amelia Templeton reports.

Cody Beedlow hikes to the Collier Glacier once a month to measure snow and ice accumulation. He started his research last year.

Cody Beedlow: “You know the early season, April, May, a blanket of snow is covering the glacier. It’s bright, almost maddening bright. As the summer proceeds, you gradually see the snow start melting and then cravasses open up.”

Beedlow says that overall, the Collier Glacier is losing ground, though it had more snow on it this year than last, thanks to the wet spring and cold June.

He is doing what’s called a mass balance study to find out how fast the Colllier Glacier is retreating. And he’s set up a home made weather tower on the glacier to learn if hotter weather or decreased snowfall is causing the retreat.

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