Author Archive

Climate models can’t read the story of Rainier

Bellingham Herald: Global climate models agree that temperatures will rise in the Pacific Northwest through the 21st century. But making specific and accurate predictions for an area as small and unusual as Mount Rainier National Park is beyond the scope of current climate knowledge and computing power. The park is essentially a square that measures about 20 miles on a side, with a mountain in the middle. Global climate models — mathematical representations expressed in computer code — are broad overviews that offer...

Mount Rainier: Case study of a changing Earth

Bellingham Herald: At the foot of the Nisqually Glacier, the roar of rushing water and grinding rock is so loud you have to shout to be heard. Water bursts from an ice cave the size of an aircraft hangar, its arched roof dripping in the sun. Flurries of stones clatter down canyon walls. Paul Kennard, a National Park Service geomorphologist here with a team of researchers using laser scanners to locate the volume and sources of rock coming off the glacier, wears a helmet for protection against stones streaking...

Managing Mount Rainier’s problems: The old ways no longer work

Bellingham Herald: Warned by geologists that the South Tahoma Glacier is aimed like a fire hose at the main entrance to Mount Rainier National Park, the National Park Service responded this summer with a traditional approach. Just past the log archway at the park’s Nisqually entrance, where outfall from the glacier crosses the main entrance road, contractors replaced a big culvert with a bigger one. The new culvert is enormous — tall enough inside for a regulation-height basketball hoop with room left over for dunks....