Cascade Pass

Very little snow and ice remains seasonally in the North Cascades, as seen July 31 at the Cascade Pass Trailhead southeast of Marblemount. Glaciers and snowpack are, and will continue, declining as the global climate changes — moving the Skagit River to a rain-dominated system, according to regional experts.

As Skagit County experienced yet another stretch of oppressive heat, smoke and continued drought this past week, news alerts kept coming about massive fires in the U.S., Canada and Greece along with word of a Code Red announced in the latest report from a United Nations group studying climate change.

It was the latest report from the U.N.-appointed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — a 3,000-page document written with input from 234 scientists who say things are worse than feared. Global warming is already accelerating, and extremes such as heat waves, droughts, floods and storms are getting more intense faster than predicted.

— Reporter Kimberly Cauvel: 360-416-2199,, Twitter: @Kimberly_SVH,

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