Ice Record on Lake MichiganMarch 4th, 2014 at 1:31 am by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, Weather
Click on the images to enlarge. A week ago last Thursday we had wind gusts to 63 mph out on Lake Michigan. If you look at the ice chart for Lake Michigan, you can see the the huge decrease from about 82% to 30% coverage as the wind broke up the ice. Now, with several very cold nights with light winds, we’re back up to 90% coverage. This is the most ice we have had on Lake Michigan since 1979 (after 3 cold, snowy winters in a row). It’s also the most ice that we have ever had on Lake Michigan during the month of March. I got a call and email from an engineer in Coeur d’alene, Idaho that found the blog and the articles on Great Lakes ice. He looked at the data (GLERL, Coastwatch, National Snow and Ice Data Center, Environment Canada) and did some calculations and made a best guess on the volume of all the ice on the Great Lakes right now. He said that all the ice on the Great Lakes would make a cube 19.9 miles high (3 1/2 times higher than Mt. Everest) and 19.9 miles wide (roughly the distance from John Ball Park to the Ionia Co. border). Thanks to Michael Sloan for that data (in a nice spreadsheet). From the left, the first image is Great Lakes ice cover, the 2nd image is Lake Michigan ice cover, both at 90% coverage (images from GLERL). The other 2 pictures are from Jack Martin, who has a mini-helicopter that he uses to get some fantastic pictures. These pics. are from Lake Michigan near Pier Cove. You can see the great expanse of ice and the darker trees. This is one time of year when it can be warmer in the forest than the surrounding areas. The sun heats darker objects more than lighter-colored objects…so the darker forest will generate more heat than the snow covered sand dunes or farmland to the east.