Hell and Great Lakes Freezing Over/SuperiorSet to Complete Freeze
Ice Expert Predicts Lake Superior Will Completely Freeze Over This Wint
(CNSNews.com) – Lake Superior hasn’t completely frozen over in two decades.
But an expert on Great Lakes ice says there’s a “very high likelihood” that the three-quadrillion-gallon lake will soon be totally covered with ice thanks to this winter’s record-breaking cold.
The ice cover on the largest freshwater lake in the world hit a 20-year record of 91 percent on Feb. 5, 1994.
Jay Austin, associate professor at the Large Lakes Observatory in Duluth, Minn., told CNSNews.com that he expects that record will be broken this winter when the most northern of the Great Lakes becomes totally shrouded in ice.
The thickness of the ice on Lake Superior “varies tremendously,” from a very thin sheet in some areas near the coast to several feet thick in other spots, Austin says. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that the mean thickness of the lake ice is 26 cm, or a little over 10 inches.
Austin attributes the large amount of ice on the lake to the “extraordinary cold winter we’ve had,” pointing out that Duluth recently experienced an all-time record of 23 straight days of below-zero temperatures.
The previous record of 22 days was set in 1936 and tied in 1963, according to the National Weather Service.
Austin, who studies the effect of lake ice, predicts that it will have a “very strong influence” on the regional climate this summer, with the “air conditioning [lake] effect” more pronounced than usual.
“Typically, the lake will start warming up in late June, but it will be August before we see that this year,” Austin told CNSNews.com.
As of February 10th, ice covered 80.4 percent of all the Great Lakes, compared to 38.4 percent last winter, according to NOAA. That’s considerably higher than the lake’s long-term average of 51.4 percent under ice.
The record for maximum ice coverage of 94.7 percent was set in 1979. The lowest ice accumulation occurred in 2002, when just 9.5 percent of the surface of the Great Lakes was frozen solid.
***UPDATE 1-21-14 60% of Great Lakes predicted by Jan/Feb this yr, up from last yrs 38% and yearly 50% average past three decades*** See this article for the latest update on ice lakes benefits and setbacks.
January 20, 2014 7:36 PM
Deep Freeze Is Fun for Some
Midwest Cold Plagues Ships, but Hockey Dads, Snowmobilers Relish the Thick Ice
By CAROLINE PORTER and BEN KESLING
When the mercury dipped below zero earlier this month, many Iowans huddled inside and hoped it would end soon. Neil Herbold took his four children to a frozen pond to play hockey.
"I absolutely love having more ice," said Mr. Herbold, a 35-year-old mental-health technician from Pierson, Iowa. He organized the group Northwest Iowa Pond Hockey this season to "encourage people to get their kids off the couch when it's cold out," he said.
The Midwest hasn't had this much ice on the Great Lakes and other bodies of water this early in the season for decades, and another blast of cold is expected this week. Wind chills as low as 40 degrees below zero are forecast for the Upper Midwest, according to the National Weather Service.
Ferries this month have shut down early, a ship slammed into a U.S. Coast Guard cutter and ice dams threatened floods around the region. But the ice also was thick enough in many places for skating, climbing and snowmobiling.
"We've had lots of places to choose from," said Mr. Herbold, who has enjoyed foot-thick ice at his local pond for about two months. "It's been an absolute dream compared to last year when we didn't have much at all."
About 60% of the Great Lakes will be under ice cover for the months of January and February, predicts George Leshkevich, a scientist with the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. During the past three decades the average maximum freeze-over has only been about 50% each year. Last year, it was roughly 38%.
It has been 25 years since the lakes have had this much ice this early, said Mark Gill, director of vessel traffic services with the U.S. Coast Guard in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich, which hit minus-16 degrees on Jan. 3. The extra ice means slower speeds, decreased loads and lost money for some 50 ships still navigating the lakes, he said.
Nine Coast Guard cutters and two Canadian ships are breaking up ice, a sometimes harrowing experience, Mr. Gill said. In early January, one cutter suffered minor damage when it got stuck in heavy ice and was struck by the ship it was leading.
For the Beaver Island Boat Co., which runs two ferries between Charlevoix, Mich., and Beaver Island, in Lake Michigan, the extreme ice and cold meant the service had to shut down about a week early for the first time in at least five years, said assistant manager Tim McQueer, costing the company as much as $10,000 in lost business.
"There are a couple of shipments that people have to wait until next season to get now, such as lumber, which you cannot ship by plane," he said.
For the ecosystem, however, heavy ice yields a number of benefits, including preventing water levels from falling further in bodies of water that hit all-time low levels in early 2013, as Lakes Michigan and Huron did. This followed a drought the previous summer and warmer year-round water temperatures that led to substantial evaporation.
"The Great Lakes get water mostly from precipitation and lose water from evaporation," said Andy Buchsbaum, director of the Great Lakes office of the National Wildlife Foundation. "That evaporation happens year round, including in the winter. And if you put a cap on the Great Lakes, virtually no water is evaporating."
When the ice thaws, changes in water temperatures and density will cause the lakes to churn, adding oxygen to the water and helping fish and other animals to flourish, said Mr. Buchsbaum. It could also lead to reduced levels of algae, which has been plaguing the lakes for years.
In Munising, Mich., ice climberswho make their way up frozen sandstone cliffs sometimes 350-feet high are having an unusually good year. "This is some of the best ice we've had in decades," said Bill Thompson, organizer of the Michigan Ice Festival, scheduled for late January, and co-owner of local sporting-good store Down Wind Sports. "When you have tons of snow and lots of ice, people buy things," Mr. Thompson said. "We love this weather."
Mark Martin, an ice-fishing guide from Twin Lake, Mich., says the thick ice is a boon to his business. Still, he acknowledges some pitfalls. "You really can't go out unprepared," said Mr. Martin, who fishes from a collapsible tent he pulls behind his snowmobile. "Recently, my glasses froze to my face."
Write to Caroline Porter at email@example.com and Ben Kesling at firstname.lastname@example.org
More Than 60 "Who's Who" Scientists Since 2007 Scoff Global Warming/Predict Mini Ice Age. Great Lakes About to Freeze Over 2014.
Great Lakes Water Levels
January 2nd, 2014 at 7:35 pm by Bill Steffen
Lake Superior is now back to the long-term average…so only Lake Michigan-Huron (which is a single lake for lake-level purposes, as the 2 lakes are connected at the Mac. Bridge and are at the same water level) is now below the long-term average. Remember, more than one study has shown that the reduced level of Lake Michigan-Huron is mostly or completely due to dredging in the St. Clair River. According to this article in the Milwaukee Journal “The St. Clair has been heavily dredged for over a century, and the federal government has long acknowledged that this human meddling in the riverbed has led to a permanent drop of about 16 inches from Michigan and Huron’s long-term average. Alarmed by the fact that even the lakes’ peak levels had been below that average line for several years, a Canadian conservation group created by property owners from northern Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay hired its own engineering firm to conduct a study of what was going on in the St. Clair River back in 2004. That study said the water lost from the lakes by expanding the river channel was actually much greater than 16 inches – and getting worse.”
Here’s the increase in water level for 2013: Superior 12″, Michigan-Huron 14″, Erie 10″, Ontario 11″ and St. Clair 14″. Superior is down 2″ in the last month (not surprising…it’s been too cold up north to melt anything and Superior is still mainly open water and there is some evaporation) and Michigan-Huron is down 1″ in the last month. Lake Ontario is up to 2″ in the last month, Erie is up 4″ in the last month (a lot for Dec.) and Lake St. Clair is up 3″ month-to-month. Lakes Erie and Ontario are now both 2″ above their century average, Lakes Superior and St. Clair are exactly at average and Lake Michigan-Huron is 14″ below the long-term average.
Also, there’s more ice on the Great Lakes today (1/2) than any 1/2 since 1989. a pilot’s view of the ice at Grand Haven and Holland…last winter’s pic. of the ice balls on Lake Michigan…and, here’s a link to a blog article containing the map (click on the map) showing the last time the Great Lakes were more than 95% ice covered in 1979. www.blogs.woodtv.com/2011/02/09/great-lakes-ice/ According to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab at Ann Arbor, Lake Michigan has never completely frozen over. In the coldest winters, (1903-04, 1976-77 and most recently 1978-79) Lake Michigan was more than 90 percent ice-covered, but in 76-77 and 78-79, pilots said there was always some open water in the middle of the lake. Lake Erie is most likely to freeze over, despite the fact that it’s the southernmost of the Great Lakes, because it’s the shallowest (max. depth 210 feet, average depth 62 feet — compare that to Torch Lake (NE of Traverse City) has an average depth of 111 feet and a maximum depth of 285 feet) of the Great Lakes.
Select this link for dozens of articles from 2013 to as far back as 2007 debunking man caused climate change and global warming. IIt's the most extensive list you'll find: