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Thread: If Washington was another 1000' would it be glaciated?

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    Senior Member SpencerVT's Avatar
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    If Washington was another 1000' would it be glaciated?

    We received 3-4 inches of snow near where I live in Southern Vermont on Mother's Day Weekend.
    It got me thinking: If Mount Washington was 1000' taller, would it be permanently glaciated or permanent ice/snow in some capacity? Sometimes when I drive past Washington on Route 302 late in the Spring and see it all encased in snow it is hard to imagine it ever not being winter up there (although obviously summer conditions eventually arrive).
    I know year-round ice/snow is more than just a function of elevation, but it has always seemed to me that Mount Washington is really close to having permanent year-round glacier/snow/ice.
    Spencer
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    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    I'd have to guess that would depend if the ravines were a 1000 feet higher. Most of the snow that falls on the top is blown off into a ravine or the snowfield that occurs on the eastern slope of Washington. (had an avalanche a few, several, years ago) I usually avoid Tuckerman Ravine in order to avoid the crowd, however, one year there was some left over snow around the 24th of August.Click image for larger version. 

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    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

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    If you go due west a couple of thousand miles, you'll eventually bump into the Tetons. The Tetons run North-South like the Presidential Range. There are some small glaciers there, but they start at around 10,000 ft. elevation.

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    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    The weather is different though out in WY than where Mt. Washington is located. Crawford Notch gets almost double the average winter precipitation as does Jackson Hole
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

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    Senior Member TCD's Avatar
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    I have often thought that if something were to happen to extend Lake Ontario to the east, all the way over to the Saranac lake area, that the lake effect snow in the ADK high peaks would be prodigious, and we would have glaciers again pretty soon, maybe in 100 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike P. View Post
    The weather is different though out in WY than where Mt. Washington is located. Crawford Notch gets almost double the average winter precipitation as does Jackson Hole
    https://www.jacksonhole.com/weather-snow-report.html

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    There have been discussions about the Tuckerman Glacier over the years, sadly with the current climate future, I don't see any forming anytime soon unless the current unusual long stretch between glacial periods decides to end. Thirty years ago there were legitimate scientific institutions that advocated the Global Cooling was about to arrive due to this long stretch. The Institute of Quaternary Studies was one in this region.

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    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    2020 last-reported snowfall was: 461" (JH) vs 157" (BW) - Champagne Powder vs East Coast Mixed Precip?

    Tim
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    Quote Originally Posted by TCD View Post
    I have often thought that if something were to happen to extend Lake Ontario to the east, all the way over to the Saranac lake area, that the lake effect snow in the ADK high peaks would be prodigious, and we would have glaciers again pretty soon, maybe in 100 years.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glacial_Lake_Iroquois

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    Senior Member Quietman's Avatar
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    There is ice in the caves in King Ravine that is there year round. Underground glacier?

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    Senior Member blacknblue's Avatar
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    Treeline in the CO Rockies is around 11,500 feet versus 4,500 in the Northeast (roughly). Colorado has "permanent snowfields", obviously not that much higher than treeline. It seems like another 1000 feet would make a permanent snowfield a possibility, or at least snow that occasionally makes it year-round. Interesting question.
    "People hardly ever make use of the freedom which they have, for example, freedom of thought; instead they demand freedom of speech as a compensation."
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    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    I am no expert, so take this with a grain of salt. I would think a big factor in having the conditions for a permanent glacier, would be the nighttime temps. Out west even in the summer, the temps at night plummet, thus relocking the snow and ice. Here in the east, it rarely dips below freezing in the summer and the melt does not stop until, the snow and ice is gone. Another 1000ft in my opinion, wouldn't be enough, to negate that.

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    If memory serves, this topic was broached in AMC's Appalachia magazine some decades ago. I don't have the reference. What I recall is an elevation of 9,000 feet. Not sure if that was supposed to be the summit elevation, or Tuckerman bowl elevation, for permanent glacier to form.
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    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    I checked with a contact who is a former MW OBS Meteorologist...

    Fog is the biggest factor. The fog doesn’t let the snowpack radiate and stay cold. So the snowpack gets ripped through in the summer. A tuckerman ravine type wind deposit at 7000 feet...maybe, but still likely wouldn’t survive the fog.
    Tim
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    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    I looked at one of the weather services average for Jackson Hole for my comparison. The Jackson Hole snow vortex likely pales to the snow numbers that Jay Peak allegedly gets. (IDK, I did not look up for Jay but listening to adds and the ski area promo's they seem to embellish a bit)

    The cams on the ski area show some snow on the slopes, more than what is currently at Badger Pass in Yosemite and much less than what is visible at the Mammoth Summit Cam of the summit and the surrounding peaks in the Sierra. It's currently snowing at Bachelor.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

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