Thursday, March 6, 2014

Ice Cover and Effects

It's March but with the cold winter ice is still plentiful on Lake Superior.  It's also an opportunity to learn about what the effect will be from more ice on the lake.    In the Twin Ports we have the Large Lakes Observatory and Jay Austin who has researched effects.
MN Sea Grant has also had research about ice on Lake Superior

I stopped by Brighton Beach yesterday and at least 50 ice shacks were out on the Lake.  Some were pretty far out, too.   How long will the ice last?

Here's a report predicting effects on our summer weather and evaporation rates due to this winter's ice cover.   Cooler summer weather, reduced evaporation rates, less lowering of lake levels due to those factors - these are some of the effects ahead.

Here is a list of Michigan experts on Great Lakes ice and its effects.
U-Michigan experts available to discuss near-record Great Lakes ice cover and its implications

ANN ARBOR—Great Lakes ice cover has now increased to 91 percent, creeping closer to the record of 94.7 percent set in 1979, according to the federal government's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor. The University of Michigan has several researchers who can discuss the near-record ice cover and its implications.

Frank Marsik, associate research scientist in atmospheric science, can discuss how the ice might affect weather later this year in Michigan. Contact: (734) 763-5369 or

Derek Posselt, assistant professor of atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences, can address how ice cover affects lake-effect snow and rain in the Great Lakes region. His recent research shows that the location of the ice, and not just its thickness, plays a role in determining precipitation levels. Contact: (734) 936-0502 or

Andrew Gronewold, adjunct professor of civil and environmental engineering at U-M and a hydrologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, can discuss the impact of ice and cold water in the Great Lakes, how water levels affect shipping and tourism and projects under way to obtain better measurements. Watch a video interview: Contact: (734) 763-6829 or

Dave Schwab, research scientist at the U-M Water Center, says that while this winter has been different than other recent winters, the weather we've experienced falls within the normal range of short-term climate variability for the region. "This winter is unusual compared to other very recent winters, but it may not be so unusual in the long run," he said. "We only have about 40 years of detailed ice statistics for the Great Lakes to work with, which is a fairly short record." Contact: (734) 763-1093 or

Dmitry Beletsky, an expert on the hydrodynamics of lakes, can address the impact of Great Lakes ice on lake circulation patterns, current speed and summer water temperatures. "Deep lakes like Superior and Michigan take longer to warm up after a winter with extensive ice cover, and water temperatures will likely remain cooler than normal throughout the year," said Beletsky, associate research scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research, a collaboration between U-M and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Contact: (734) 741-2360 or

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