Less ice on the Great Lakes means more open water and moisture that can be picked up and turned into lake effect precipitation for downwind communities. Great Lakes ice cover continues to increase. Great Lakes ice coverage seasonal maximums, 1973-2017. Credit: GLERL/NOAA. Lake Superior summer (JulySeptember) surface water temperatures increased approximately 4.5°F from 1979-2006, a significantly faster rate than regional atmospheric warming. MODIS True Color Images of the Great Lakes (by lake) Great Lakes MODIS True Color; JAVA GIS / MODIS; International Field Year on Lake Erie (IFYLE) - Lake Erie | Saginaw BayMODIS True Color Peak ice for the entire Great Lakes was reached on March 6, 2014, when 92.19 percent of the lakes were covered. Teasing out how much of the trend is due to each influence is challenging, however. Graph by Scott Sutherland. Shipping is shut down for a part of the year. This helpful guide explains the proper way to interpret ice conditions on our charts. The recent spell of record cold across the midwestern United States has caused ice on the Great Lakes to reach levels not seen since 2014, with yet more bone-chilling cold in the forecast. Large interannual and decadal variability are observed, as well as a downward trend. The Great Lakes farther south (Erie and Ontario) see their maximum ice extent in February while the maximum ice extent is normally found in March in the northern Great Lakes (Superior and Huron). Shoreline structures can be damaged. This helpful guide explains the proper way to interpret ice conditions on our charts. cover. The image on top shows the Great Lakes at the time of maximum ice cover averaged from 1973-2018 based on winter season data from NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. This is the MODIS Lake Superior satellite picture from Wed. PM (2/27/19) (from NOAA Coastwatch). GREAT LAKES ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LABORATORY. Whitefish, for instance, use the ice cover to protect its eggs from big winter storms, which rile up the water. After a period of strong winds over the weekend, ice extent on othe Great Lakes dropped to 65.13% on Monday. Lake Michigan's ice coverage is impressive, as these pictures show, but it's still far from breaking a record. But ice cover also impacts the Great Lakes ecosystem and climate. The total ice coverage on the five Great Lakes was 1.5% on Tuesday, or the second lowest for Jan. 7, according to NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL). The decreasing maximum ice extent of Great Lakes ice is due to a combination of natural climate influences as well as influences from man-made climate change. Since the 1970s, ice coverage has generally decreased. Great Lakes CoastWatch Node NOAA/Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory 4840 S. State Rd. As of February 11, 69.1 percent of the Great Lakes were ice covered, according to data from NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental According to the records I have, that’s the 9th highest extent in the 47-year satellite record. Great Lakes Ice Cover Observations Lake Erie Vertical Temperature Mooring (2017) links to NCEI archive Lake Huron Vertical Temperature Mooring (2012-2019) links to NCEI archive Lake Superior-2 Jan 2018 Ice Climatology is a long-term view of ice conditions observations and measurements over a given geographic water region. is combined with other sources to translate daily ice charts into a pixel grid of percent The present configuration of the Great Lakes basin is the result of the movement of massive glaciers through the mid-continent, a process that began about one million years ago during the Pleistocene Epoch. NOAA's analysis of ice on the Great Lakes on January 30, 2020. In particular, the middles of Lakes Ontario and Lake Michigan remain on average 80-90% ice-free at winter maximum. variability are observed, as well as a downward trend. How to read an ice chart. 30-year average ice condition graphics for the Arctic, Hudson Bay, East Coast, Great Lakes The lowest ice coverage was in 2002 when ice coverage was only 9.5%. University of Oklahoma Press. Shipping is shut down for a part of the year. Despite this fairly consistent seasonal pattern, some lakes are losing ice cover faster than others. These links to the Great Lakes Coastal Forecasting System -- Nowcast/Forecast pages include: current observed ice cover, wind, and air temperature; model-derived ice thickness, ice velocity, vessel icing, surface currents, and water temperature. The Great Lakes ice cover was from 15% to 18% this week, compared with about 67% a year ago, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says Why 8 … “The Great Lakes have 9 times the ice coverage of last year at this time,” says reader Marque2. Beginning in 1989, the U.S. National Ice Center produced Great Lakes ice cover charts that combined both Canadian and U.S. agency satellite imagery. Typical ice condition charts. Great Lakes ice cover decreasing over last 40 years, Lake effect snow buries parts of the Great Lakes in December 2016, The paradox of lake effect snow: global warming could bring the Great Lakes more of it, at least for a while, Problem child: sometimes snow data need extra love, Northwest Passage clear of ice again in 2016, A warm pool in the Indo-Pacific Ocean has almost doubled in size, changing global rainfall patterns, Nature’s archives: piecing together 12,000 years of Earth’s climate story, March 2020 continues hot start to the year, September 2020: Another record-setting month for global heat. As you can see, there is a lot of ice on Lake Superior. The siege of polar air that has gripped the region this winter has caused the most extensive freeze-over of the lakes since … The Great Lakes - the world's largest group of freshwater lakes - were 78.9 per cent covered by ice on February 6, according to an analysis by … Data is from the U.S. National Ice Center and the Canadian Ice Service. Ice coverage on Lake Superior, Huron and Erie is at 95 percent or more, and ice coverage on the Great Lakes was recorded at 88.8 percent Saturday, according to NOAA CoastWatch, which is a little more ice than at this time last year, WZZM reports. Studies in the Lake Superior region indicate that a river system and valleys formed by water erosion existed before the Ice Age. Fish spawning can be impacted. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired the top image of ice cover on North America’s Great Lakes on March 17, 2015. GREAT LAKES ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LABORATORY. community in research, application, and management. Great Lakes MODIS Imagery. The Great Lakes have exceeded that average in four of the last six winters. Monday, January 12, 2015, 7:51 PM - Winter sport enthusiasts can rejoice as a cold snap has pushed total ice coverage on the Great Lakes to double-digits. So far, the Great Lakes ice cover is more extensive than it has been in the last two years. The greatest declines have been in Lake Superior, Huron, St. Clair, and Erie. Lake Erie is at 94 percent coverage, Huron nearly 85 percent, Michigan roughly 40 percent and Ontario at 23 percent. On the bottom is a time series of the annual maximum ice cover averaged over all of the Great Lakes from 1973 to 2018. Great Lakes ice coverage is significantly lower than last year Photo showing the Great Lakes Ice Coverage taken on Feb. 16, 2020. Lake Superior's ice coverage further beat 2014's record in 2019, reaching 95% coverage… Ice cover on the Great Lakes can vary widely from one year to the next. Information from NOAA-GLERL. This color-enhanced imagery from the Suomi NPP satellite's VIIRS instrument shows ice cover on the Great Lakes on February 12, 2018. 30-year average ice condition graphics for the Arctic, Hudson Bay, East Coast, Great Lakes Great Lakes ice cover decreasing over last 40 years A downward trend since the 1970s in the annual maximum extent of Great Lakes ice cover, which reaches a maximum every year during late winter and early spring, spells trouble for the Great Lakes ecosystem and the people who rely on it. Decent early season ice coverage records date back to 1973. Was off by 33% in coverage in 48 hour forecast period. Making matters worse, if ice loss continues, cold-water fish like the whitefish might have to now compete with warm-water fish for the same resources. The Great Lakes certainly do, with ice coverage at its highest percentage in 35 years, according to scientists from the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich. Riley, John L. (2013) The Once and Future Great Lakes Country: An Ecological History (McGill-Queen's University Press 516 pages; traces environmental change in the region since the last ice age. Animation of Historical Great Lakes Ice Cover NOAA GLERL's ice cover dataset extends from 1973 to present, serving the Great Lakes community in research, application, and management. However, while the yearly (and even the five-year running average) can be different from year to year (or decade to decade), the trend in ice cover over all of the lakes since 1973 is downward. ISBN 978-0-8061-2056-0. Since 1973, the average maximum ice cover extent for the Great Lakes has been just 50%, and in those four decades, the ice extent has surpassed 80% just five times. Typical ice condition charts. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite acquired the top image of ice cover on North America’s Great Lakes on March 17, 2015. These links to the Great Lakes Coastal Forecasting System -- Nowcast/Forecast pages include: current observed ice cover, wind, and air temperature; model-derived ice thickness, ice velocity, vessel icing, surface currents, and water temperature. Declining winter ice cover is the largest driving factor. But this is an anomaly. 11.5% ice coverage … Ice coverage across the Great Lakes reached 92.5 percent in 2014, the highest on record since 1979. This year on Feb. 8, ice coverage of the Great Lakes was at 54 percent, the NWS reported. Fish spawning can be impacted. All of the lakes begin to see ice develop along the shallower coasts during late fall and early winter before ice begins to expand in coverage from north to south across the Lakes throughout the winter. Lake Huron still has below average ice cover at 24 percent coverage. Ice actually has a considerable impact. What factors impact ice coverage on the Great Lakes? It also means that more water evaporates from the surface of the lakes leading to lower lake levels. For one, shipping across the Great Lakes is a multi-billion dollar industry which employs tens of thousands of people. The onset of first ice cover on inland lakes in the region is 6-11 days later than during the middle 19th century and the breakup of ice in the spring is 2-13 days earlier. A mild winter has kept ice coverage on the Great Lakes well below average this year, according to the Canadian Coast Guard. Since 1973, the maximum ice cover over all of the Great Lakes was 95% in 1979, while the minimum during this period was only 1 1% in 2002. Ice coverage on the Great Lakes reached 85.4 percent on Feb. 18, marking the second winter in a row that ice coverage has exceeded 80 percent. Stacy Dufour, the coast guard's ice breaking superintendent for the central and arctic regions said Thursday that, on average, about 30 per cent of the Great Lakes are iced over at this time of year. Another brutal year was 1994, when ice coverage peaked at 89 percent. These far-reaching impacts emphasize the need for continued monitoring and modeling of the Great Lakes as our climate continues to change. Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History. “And 33 times that of two years ago.” Here are comparison maps of ice concentration on Lake Superior. The decline of ice cover on the Great Lakes is best explained by a more sudden shift to less ice as opposed to a gradual decline (Mason et al 2016 and Van Cleave et al 2014). The U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards have assisted over 300 ships this winter, one of the most demanding years for icebreaking. And buried within those cycles are large year-to-year swings. Similar ice coverage is reported on the four other Great Lakes. NOAA GLERL and its partners conduct innovative research on the dynamic environments and ecosystems of the Great Lakes and coastal regions to provide information for resource use and management decisions that lead to safe and sustainable ecosystems, ecosystem services, and human communities. The translated total loss in lake ice over the entire 38-yr record varies from 37% in Lake St. Clair (least) to 88% in Lake Ontario (most). How to read an ice chart. What impacts do you think ice on the Great Lakes might have on the surrounding area? Great Lakes ice coverage peaked at around 88 percent before a warm spell dipped coverage down to 61 percent. (Feb. 19, 2019) A downward trend since the 1970s in the annual maximum extent of Great Lakes ice cover, which reaches a maximum every year during late winter and early spring, spells trouble for the Great Lakes ecosystem and the people who rely on it. The last time they came this close was in 1994, when 94 percent of the lakes' surface was frozen. NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image of the lakes on the early afternoon of Feb. 19, 2014. Regardless of what may be causing it, you might be thinking why do we even care about ice loss on the Great Lakes? Source: Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. Then, additional chilly weather stopped the thaw and led to rapid ice … Even the climate itself is impacted by the ice overage. The Great Lakes have warmed faster than the nearby air temperature in recent years. A mild winter has kept ice coverage on the Great Lakes well below average this year, according to the Canadian Coast Guard. By April, the lakes begin their annual melt. The bar chart shows the maximum total % cover for the Great Lakes basin for each year. Shoreline structures can be damaged. Ice actually has a considerable impact. However, we did experience one brutal winter in 2013/2014. With shorter winters and op… ... And he sent me pictures of people standing on little ice floes, jumping into the lake in the winter. Looking year to year, things can swing wildly from a lot of ice to a little which is why forecasting ice cover in the Great Lakes every year is so important. NOAA GLERL's ice cover dataset extends from 1973 to present, serving the Great Lakes The total loss for overall Great Lakes ice coverage is 71%, while Lake Superior places second with a 79% loss. The recent cold across the Great Lakes and relatively light wind has resulted in the most ice coverage for the winter season so far. The Great Lakes as a whole are now down to 73 percent coverage. That being said, if we look at the figure below showing the maximum ice coverage from 1973 through this year, we can see that 2014 saw some … The seasonal evolution of ice cover on all of the Great Lakes follows a relatively consistent schedule. Along with the yearly data (in light blue), a five-year running average (dark blue) is also included as well as the overall trend of the maximum ice cover data (dotted line). Since the early 1970s, the Great Lakes have a long-term average of 55% ice coverage with certain areas reliably freezing over. In contrast, Lake Erie, a shallower lake, is normally over 70% ice covered by late winter. That frigid year, the Great Lakes together reached 92% ice coverage, during which Lake Erie and the Straits of Mackinac (the region between Lakes Michigan and Huron) completely froze over and Lakes Huron and Superior nearly froze over. Ice cover … What factors impact ice coverage on the Great Lakes? Decent early season ice coverage records date back to 1973. Back to the main GLERL ice page, NOAA - Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR). (NOAA Climate.gov) The study noted that waters have warmed significantly … In that time, the lakes have surpassed 80% ice coverage a mere five times. Every year freighters get stuck in the ice delaying deliveries and costing money. The map shows the extent of the maximum ice cover on the Great Lakes for each year. Meanwhile, many different ecosystems also rely on ice cover during the winter. Last Friday was the earliest date that all three Great Lakes already had ice since the better reporting of early season ice began. According to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, 0.1% of the Great Lakes is covered with ice. An average winter is about 55 percent. Great Lakes ice cover for February 11, in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Satellite data Great Lakes Ice Cover See also 60-day GLSEA SST/Ice Animation 0.1 percent of the Great Lakes is covered by ice. The 2011-2012 ice cover maximum was approximately 5%, the lowest ever observed in the satellite era. Average maximum ice coverage on the Great Lakes from 1973-2018. Great Lakes ice cover facts since 1973 94.7% ice coverage in 1979 is the maximum on record. The last time the ice cover was even close to this level was in 1996, when it was approximately 82%. These products are downloaded at GLERL by our Coastwatch program, a nationwide NOAA program within which the GLERL functions as the Great Lakes … Data from GLERL/NOAA. Even the climate itself is impacted by the ice overage. “And 33 times that of two years ago.” Here are comparison maps of ice concentration on Lake Superior. It can be used to identify averages, trends and record conditions. Although the reason for the shift is not completely understood, Lake Superior's and Huron's shifts coincide with a strong ENSO event occurring in 1998. The bottom image shows ice cover a year earlier (March 16, 2014) when ice covered 75 percent of the lakes. The Great Lakes ice coverage this winter is nearing record 1979 levels, when nearly 95 percent of the water was frozen solid. Large interannual and decadal NOAA The greatest ice coverage existed over northern Lake Huron, at 15.3 percent, while the lowest was just a hint of ice… What impacts do you think ice on the Great Lakes might have on the surrounding area? The long-term average for ice coverage on all five lakes—Superior, Michigan, Erie, Huron, and Ontario—is 54 percent. Two recent consecutive winters (2013–2014 and 2014–2015) brought unusually high ice coverage to the Great Lakes, and on March 6, 2014, overall ice coverage peaked at 92.5%, the second-highest in recorded history. Data is from the U.S. National Ice Center and Canadian Ice Service. Posted at 8:41 AM, Feb 17, 2020 Last Friday was the earliest date that all three Great Lakes already had ice since the better reporting of early season ice began. Great Lakes Ice Cover from December 6th, 2017. Clear skies, thanks to high pressure over the region, reveal lake ice and snow cover on the ground in remarkable detail. A big freeze hit the region right at the end of the shipping season, causing problems for several of the region’s biggest industries. These links to the Great Lakes Coastal Forecasting System -- Nowcast/Forecast pages include: current observed ice cover, wind, and air temperature; model-derived ice thickness, ice velocity, vessel icing, surface currents, and water temperature. This variability occurs due to the randomness of the weather, but also larger climate patterns like the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). In recent years, warmer surface water temperatures in the Great Lakes have contributed to lower water levels by increasing rates of evaporation and causing lake ice to form later than usual (see the Lake Ice indicator), which extends the season for evaporation. I have been watching their models for a month and every forcast for each lake and run has been so off I can not understand how it can even be shown to the public. GREAT LAKES ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LABORATORY. The Detroit Army Corps of Engineers has kept records of Great Lakes ice coverage going back to 1973. It is very important to monitor and archive sea ice conditions of Canadian waters every year. Lake Huron has actually seen a rapid increase in surface ice development during the last week. Last week in a 2 day period NOAA’s Great Lakes Ice model for Lake Superior showed ice decreasing but is gained ice. The map shows the extent of the maximum ice cover on the Great Lakes for each year. On that day, ice covered 55 percent of the lakes, according to the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. On that day, ice covered 55 percent of the lakes, according to the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. A familiar view for many who live and play around the Great Lakes graces the current cover of National Geographic – a stormy sunset over Lake Michigan, seen from the sandy beaches of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The bottom image shows ice cover a year earlier (March 16, 2014) when ice covered 75 percent of the lakes. Buried within that long-term decreasing trend in lake ice are cycles of lower and higher amounts of lake ice that take place over decades. Saturday, the Great Lakes peaked at 80.87% ice cover. 9.5% ice coverage in 2002 is the lowest on record. “The Great Lakes have 9 times the ice coverage of last year at this time,” says reader Marque2. Even at winter maximum, most lakes normally remain at least somewhat un-iced. 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