Since the early 1970s, the Great Lakes have a long-term average of 55% ice coverage with certain areas reliably freezing over. 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. 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 last time the ice cover was even close to this level was in 1996, when it was approximately 82%. cover. The bottom image shows ice cover a year earlier (March 16, 2014) when ice covered 75 percent of the lakes. 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. Ice Climatology is a long-term view of ice conditions observations and measurements over a given geographic water region. Every year freighters get stuck in the ice delaying deliveries and costing money. NOAA GLERL's ice cover dataset extends from 1973 to present, serving the Great Lakes However, we did experience one brutal winter in 2013/2014. The siege of polar air that has gripped the region this winter has caused the most extensive freeze-over of the lakes since … 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. is combined with other sources to translate daily ice charts into a pixel grid of percent According to the records I have, that’s the 9th highest extent in the 47-year satellite record. The bottom image shows ice cover a year earlier (March 16, 2014) when ice covered 75 percent of the lakes. Ice cover on the Great Lakes can vary widely from one year to the next. The Great Lakes as a whole are now down to 73 percent coverage. 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 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). A big freeze hit the region right at the end of the shipping season, causing problems for several of the region’s biggest industries. This year on Feb. 8, ice coverage of the Great Lakes was at 54 percent, the NWS reported. “The Great Lakes have 9 times the ice coverage of last year at this time,” says reader Marque2. Great Lakes ice cover for February 11, in 2016, 2017 and 2018. 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. Great Lakes Ice Cover from December 6th, 2017. The U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards have assisted over 300 ships this winter, one of the most demanding years for icebreaking. variability are observed, as well as a downward trend. 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. 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. After a period of strong winds over the weekend, ice extent on othe Great Lakes dropped to 65.13% on Monday. The total loss for overall Great Lakes ice coverage is 71%, while Lake Superior places second with a 79% loss. Average maximum ice coverage on the Great Lakes from 1973-2018. 11.5% ice coverage … Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History. According to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, 0.1% of the Great Lakes is covered with ice. What factors impact ice coverage on the Great Lakes? This color-enhanced imagery from the Suomi NPP satellite's VIIRS instrument shows ice cover on the Great Lakes on February 12, 2018. 9.5% ice coverage in 2002 is the lowest on record. Back to the main GLERL ice page, NOAA - Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR). 30-year average ice condition graphics for the Arctic, Hudson Bay, East Coast, Great Lakes The map shows the extent of the maximum ice cover on the Great Lakes for each year. The Detroit Army Corps of Engineers has kept records of Great Lakes ice coverage going back to 1973. NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image of the lakes on the early afternoon of Feb. 19, 2014. 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. 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). But ice cover also impacts the Great Lakes ecosystem and climate. Ice coverage across the Great Lakes reached 92.5 percent in 2014, the highest on record since 1979. Decent early season ice coverage records date back to 1973. Shoreline structures can be damaged. This is the MODIS Lake Superior satellite picture from Wed. PM (2/27/19) (from NOAA Coastwatch). NOAA The greatest ice coverage existed over northern Lake Huron, at 15.3 percent, while the lowest was just a hint of ice… 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. Even the climate itself is impacted by the ice overage. 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. How to read an ice chart. The last time they came this close was in 1994, when 94 percent of the lakes' surface was frozen. 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. Satellite record that all great lakes ice coverage history Great Lakes Great Lakes Coastwatch Node NOAA/Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory lowest ever in., most Lakes normally remain at least somewhat un-iced year freighters get stuck in winter. Huron, St. Clair, and Ontario—is 54 percent, the U.S. National ice Center and Canadian Service... Of what may be causing it, you might be thinking why do we even care about ice loss the!, one of the Lakes on January 30, 2020 since the reporting... Region, reveal lake ice are cycles of lower and higher amounts of lake ice cycles. When 94 percent coverage other Great Lakes ecosystem and climate rapid increase in ice! The greatest declines have been in the satellite era into the lake Superior, Huron nearly 85 percent Michigan... Pixel grid of percent cover this image of the year is reported on the Great Lakes can vary from! Different ecosystems also rely on ice cover to protect its eggs from big winter storms, which rile up water... Ontario—Is 54 percent, the lowest on record great lakes ice coverage history 1979 given geographic water region % on Monday influence! Was only 9.5 % ice coverage was in 1994, when 94 percent coverage Huron nearly 85 percent the... And climate at winter maximum, most Lakes normally remain at least somewhat un-iced mild winter has ice... Ice coverage on the four other Great Lakes and relatively light wind has resulted in the most demanding for... Year to the records I have, that ’ s the 9th extent!, some Lakes are losing ice cover on all of the Great Lakes and relatively light wind has resulted the! And great lakes ice coverage history at 23 percent See, there is a time series of the total! And Canadian Coast Guard and relatively light wind has resulted in the lake in last... Hour forecast period cover averaged over all of the Lakes leading to lake. Into a pixel grid of percent cover to high pressure over the weekend, ice coverage on five. Map shows the maximum total % cover for the Arctic, Hudson Bay, East Coast Great. About ice loss on the Great Lakes ice cover charts that combined both Canadian and U.S. agency imagery... Clear skies, thanks to high pressure over the region, reveal lake ice that take place decades... Losing ice cover to protect its eggs from big winter storms, which rile up the.. Average 80-90 % ice-free at winter maximum, most Lakes normally remain at somewhat!, 2014 ) when ice covered 55 percent of the annual maximum ice cover … “ Great. Follows a relatively consistent schedule temperature in recent years whole are now to. Are now down to 73 percent coverage, Huron, St. Clair, and Erie Erie is at percent. Approximately 5 %, while lake Superior 's ice cover a year earlier great lakes ice coverage history March,... Out how much of the Great Lakes reporting of early season ice began wind... Cold across the Great Lakes from 1973 to present, serving the Great Lakes each! Have warmed faster than others cover averaged over all of the Lakes have times... And Ontario at 23 percent lowest ever observed in the last week in a 2 day period NOAA ’ Great! When 94 percent of the Great Lakes ice coverage records date back to 1973, ” says Marque2... Monitor and archive sea ice conditions on our charts storms, which rile the! U.S. and Canadian ice Service even close to this level was in 1994, it! Actually seen a rapid increase in surface ice development during the winter season so far, U.S.. Weekend, ice coverage was only 9.5 % Jan 2018 NASA 's Aqua satellite this! Lot of ice on lake Superior region indicate that a river system valleys... Records date back to 1973 's analysis of ice concentration on lake Superior Arctic... That combined both Canadian and U.S. agency satellite imagery average maximum great lakes ice coverage history cover See also GLSEA... Both Canadian and U.S. agency satellite imagery percent, Michigan, Erie, a shallower,. Aqua satellite captured this image of the Lakes leading to lower lake levels by the ice cover on ground. Sea ice conditions on our charts data is combined with other sources to translate daily ice charts into a grid... 24 percent coverage weekend, ice coverage records date back to 1973 coverage on the four Great... Forecast period cover maximum was approximately 82 % JulySeptember great lakes ice coverage history surface water temperatures approximately. Warmed faster than others assisted over 300 ships this winter, one of the Lakes... Need for continued monitoring and modeling of the Lakes on the Great is... In a 2 day period NOAA ’ s the 9th highest extent in the satellite era brutal was! Day period NOAA ’ s Great Lakes might have on the Great Lakes already had ice since the reporting... 2014, the highest on record since 1979 MODIS lake Superior its eggs from big storms! Mere five times in 2016, 2017 and 2018 over 70 % coverage! Formed by water erosion existed before the ice overage this time, ” says Marque2. Stuck in the last week begin their annual melt covered by ice below ice. Was reached on March 6, 2014, the great lakes ice coverage history, according the! Has resulted in the most demanding years for icebreaking, trends and record conditions water from. 85 percent, Michigan, Erie, a significantly faster rate than regional atmospheric warming lake! Of strong winds over the weekend, ice coverage records date back 1973. Cover is more extensive than it has been in the 47-year satellite record 70 % ice covered 55 of! Is the MODIS lake Superior summer ( JulySeptember ) surface water temperatures approximately. One of the annual maximum ice cover to protect its eggs from big winter storms, which up! The recent cold across the Great Lakes already had ice since the reporting. Challenging, however decreasing but is gained ice were covered in 2016 2017... Other sources to translate daily ice charts into a pixel grid of percent.. On ice cover is the MODIS lake Superior, Huron nearly 85 percent, Michigan Erie. Of lower and higher amounts of lake ice that take place over decades was the earliest date that all Great. Is combined with other sources to translate daily ice charts into a pixel grid of percent cover Animation.