Ice Increasing on the Great LakesJanuary 8th, 2014 at 8:00 pm by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, News, Weather
Here’s a couple of the MODIS satellite pictures taken today of Lake Michigan (on the left) and Lake Superior (in the middle). On the right is a picture from the Muskegon GLERL camera at sunset. You can see on the horizon the west edge of the lake-effect clouds. Click on the images to enlarge (it’s worth it). As ice continues to form at the shoreline, the distance that the air travels over open water will diminish and that will eventually cut into the lake-effect snow. Note that the distance over water shrinks with a west wind, but with a north or northwest wind, there will still be sizable distance that the cold air has to move across open water to get to Lower Michigan. The Coast Guard says this is “the worst ice season in…decades”. A Coast Guard dispatcher at the Soo says they freed three ships Monday. He called this ice significantly worse than other years. From this link: Ice on Lake Superior out to Bayfield WI is already up to a foot thick. Duluth-Superior tugboat Captain Mike Ojaard says the ice is the worst he’s seen and keeps getting thicker. “One ice chunk touches another and it just keeps building down: some areas it’s as much as five feet thick. “It’s the toughest winter that I’ve seen in my 68 years.” Here’s a graph of Great Lakes ice cover since the satellite pics. started in 1979. Note the trend is upward since the PDO went to cold phase in 2012. Note how the phase of the PDO is a pretty good track to global temperature…negative in the 60s and 70s…positive in the 80s and 90s. Global temperatures have been flat since 2002 (graph is raw NASA data, unmanipulated). Check out my past blog with a picture of a HUGE ice ridge on Lake Superior. Here’s a pic. of Great Lakes ice cover at the highest observed level in Feb. 1979.