The Great Freeze Over The Great Lakes

This image shows the Great Lakes on February 19, 2014, when ice covered 80.3 percent of the lakes.

This image, acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite, shows the Great Lakes on February 19, 2014, when ice covered 80.3 percent of the lakes. Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA

At night, as cold settles in, lake ice creaks and groans. It’s been excessively cold, and I camped exposed on the snow-swept surface. Other than the lack of vegetation and the sounds at night, you’d never know you were on a lake. It feels like an empty plain. In some places, you see pressure ridges where ice has pushed into itself, sticking up like clear blue stegosaurus plates.  — Craig Childs

Author Craig Childs is not describing an Arctic lake. He’s describing the bitterly cold and frozen scene on Lake Superior, during his February 2014 trek on the ice near the coast of Ashland, Wisconsin.

Zoom out to view the scene from a satellite perspective and it’s apparent that Lake Superior is not the only lake to feel the freeze. The true-color image above, from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite, shows the mostly frozen state of the Great Lakes on Feb. 19. On that date, ice spanned 80.3 percent of the lakes, according to NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich.  

The ice reached an even greater extent on Feb. 13, when it covered about 88 percent of the Great Lakes – coverage not achieved since 1994, when ice spanned over 90 percent. In addition to this year, ice has covered more than 80 percent of the lakes in only five other years since 1973. The average annual maximum ice extent in that time period is just over 50 percent. The smallest maximum ice cover occurred in 2002, when only 9.5 percent of the lakes froze over.

Scientists say it’s understandable that the Great Lakes have had so much ice this year considering the cold temperatures in the region that persisted through the winter. Cold air temperatures remove heat from the water until it reaches the freezing point, at which point ice begins to form on the surface, explained Nathan Kurtz, cryospheric scientist NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

“Persistently low temperatures across the Great Lakes region are responsible for the increased areal coverage of the ice,” Kurtz said. “Low temperatures are also the dominant mechanism for thickening the ice, while secondary factors like clouds, snow, and wind also play a role.”

In early February 2014, writer Craig Childs looked out at the frozen Lake Superior from the Apostle Island Coast.

In early February 2014, writer Craig Childs looked out at the frozen Lake Superior from the Apostle Island Coast. The last time visitors could reach the area by foot was in 2009. Image Credit: Craig Childs

The freeze this year has local implications, including possible changes to snowfall amounts in the Great Lakes area, explained Walt Meier, also a cryospheric scientist at NASA Goddard. When the lakes are primarily open water, cold air picks up moisture from the relatively warm and moist lake water, often resulting in lake effect snow on the lee side of the lakes, on the eastern and southern shores. When the lakes freeze, the lake effect generally shuts down. “Although this year, they’re still picking up a fair amount of snow,” Meier said.

Lake levels could also see an impact by summer, as winter ice cover generally reduces the amount of water available to evaporate during winter months. If that turns out to be the case, it would be “good news for local water supplies, as well as for shipping and recreational use,” Meier said.

It remains to be seen when the Great Lakes will once again freeze to the extent reached in 2014, or at least enough to allow adventurers to reach the ice caves at Lake Superior’s Apostle Islands National Lakeshore by foot.

A 2012 study in the Journal of Climate by scientists at NOAA’s Great Lakes lab, which included data from MODIS, found that winter season ice cover on Lake Superior has decreased 79 percent from 1973 to 2010. The study also showed that ice cover on the lakes is highly variable and difficult to predict.

The harsh season this year “is a reminder that winters are variable and that weather can always throw an outlier our way,” said Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist and climate modeler at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.

Source: NASA AQUA satellite page

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Readers might note that the reason that the ice coverage abruptly went from 88% to 80% likely had to do with wind compacting the ice, not any temperature change – Anthony

Related: The Great Lakes may hit record ice cover this year

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139 thoughts on “The Great Freeze Over The Great Lakes

  1. Can’t wait to hear how the first of the warmists blame this on AGW.
    Musing that in the dark ages, they used to persecute and execute the ‘scientists’ of the day, I think they were onto something…..

  2. A 2012 study in the Journal of Climate by scientists at NOAA’s Great Lakes lab, which included data from MODIS, found that winter season ice cover on Lake Superior has decreased 79 percent from 1973 to 2010. The study also showed that ice cover on the lakes is highly variable and difficult to predict.

    I won’t even comment on how stupid that statement is.

    But I will say it’s going to be a very tough spring when all that ice starts to melt, with the frost so deep in the ground the water has nowhere to go for several weeks (other than downhill). It has been so cold around the Great Lakes for so long this winter that very little of the snow has melted. It just keeps building up.

  3. It will be interesting to see how much influence this much ice will have on the weather in the upper midwest of the US this spring. Right now it appears the arctic cold will persist through mid-March and with the warming south, there will no doubt be some doozy storms created at the boundaries of the two air masses through April. Lot’s of snow persisting into late Spring?

    After that the colder waters of the Lakes will generate a lot of low cloud decks on the lee side keeping temps down. There is going to take a lot of energy to melt the ice and warm the water back to what we consider normal, if it makes it there. Then if we have another cold winter, what is next?

    What a great science experiment coming up.

  4. Another indication of cold winter weather becoming less common would be that it is apparently such an unusual thing this blog has dedicated a large number of posts to the subject this winter. Rare enough these days to be ‘newsworthy’ apparently.

    I hear from some people in Europe who are poking gentle fun at North Americans while they enjoy an unusually mild winter. But that’s weather for you…

  5. Hardy Har. Here (northern Tohoku) we’ve had an easy winter. Only 5 metres of snow vs. 9 metre average and 16 metres for the past two winters. The Sea of Japan makes for a monstrous lake-effect. If this is glowbull worming, then bring it on :)

  6. The harsh season this year “is a reminder that winters are variable and that weather can always throw an outlier our way,” said Gavin Schmidt
    Of course he’d say that with regard to colder and/or snowier weather. Anything on the warmer side of things though, is due to climate change, and is a “harbinger of things to come”.

  7. Because the IPCC faithful have the upper hand with their climate change propaganda, I dread to think about the damage being caused by the political indoctrination occurring at all levels of the education system.

  8. We count on Lake Erie freezing over. Frozen, it moderates the snowfall in February, and in the absence of strong polar flows (not this year!) makes for some very nice winter weather and manageable snowfalls. I don’t recall that Ontario has ever frozen completely over in my lifetime (66 years) – usually the east and west ends freeze to some extent. That leaves the Niagara frontier exposed to lake effect from the north when lows move up the eastern seaboard. My Cdn British ancestors figured out that holding ground on the north shores of the lower lakes was the smart move ca 1812. They were glad to let the yankee rebels and malcontents keep Buffalo :)

  9. Bob Tisdale says:
    March 1, 2014 at 5:30 am
    Brrrr.
    ——————————————
    I just love it when Bob goes all technical and gets right into the details …

  10. “Persistently low temperatures across the Great Lakes region are responsible for the increased areal coverage of the ice,”

    No it wasn’t – it was the EVIL Koch Brothers and their army of no – good skeptics what done it!

  11. “Persistently low temperatures across the Great Lakes region are responsible for the increased areal coverage of the ice,” Kurtz said.

    What an astute observation! Not!

  12. Wind? You ain’t kiddin’. Grand Rapids(Western Lower Peninsula) had a greater daily average wind speed last Friday, than the day that took the Edmund Fitzgerald down. That’s according to one of our local meteorologists. And as Steve says, we have not had much in the way of a mid-winter thaw, so there is a lot of snow. With a layer or two of ice underneath, and spring just around the corner, we are likely to see some major flooding in parts of Michigan. Maybe eclipsing last years flood.

    pic from last year:

    http://photoblog.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/21/17852725-fish-swims-by-window-in-grand-rapids-mich-floodwaters

  13. Leo Geiger says:
    March 1, 2014 at 5:32 am
    Another indication of cold winter weather becoming less common would be that it is apparently such an unusual thing this blog has dedicated a large number of posts to the subject this winter. Rare enough these days to be ‘newsworthy’ apparently.

    ——-

    Leo- Did you mean to say, Less common, since the Earth began to lift out of the last cycle of cooling, which ran from 1940 to about 1979? Or did you intend to leave it completely out of context?

  14. My office overlooks the Detroit River in downtown Detroit. The river appears to be ice covered every morning when I get to the office, but much of the ice is gone by the time I leave in the evening. A Canadian and a U.S. ice cutter make sure of that. This is a long way of asking whether anyone has seen a study on the impact of ice breaking activities on global ice levels.

  15. The Accuweather St. Paul, MN forecast is predicting that we will be above average temperatures for 7 days for the month. Heading for a high today of 3 F and 4 F tomorrow. Average temperature is 34-35 F. We still have the snow that fell in November underneath a whole lot more snow. A guy from work died last week from falling while removing snow from his roof.
    Can one learn how to hibernate?

  16. Where I live in Australia it was over 100F today. In mid winter it gets down to 80F. It never snows, you can swim at the local beach all year round.

    You guys have got to watch out for global warming – a few degrees of warming could ruin your life… :-)

  17. The harsh season this year “is a reminder that winters are variable and that weather can always throw an outlier our way,” said Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist and climate modeler at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.

    I trust Gavin said the same thing “in 2002, when only 9.5 percent of the lakes froze over.” /sarc

  18. philjourdan says: “It sure makes Buffalo happy when it does freeze over.”

    Yes, no more big LE storms.

    However, we still get lake effect snow, just watch the radar map over the next week or so. Because the flow of air over the lake surface is semi-laminar, the lower air layer is still warmed by the icy lake, increasing its moisture carrying capacity….and sublimation provides moisture. As the air meets land (or wind turbines*) the lower layer mixes with the colder upper layers, and out comes our lake fluff. Changes in altitude also help, so the ski hills south of the Buf do much better.

    *Did you see the cloud plumes behind the wind turbines in the blog post on hurricanes here a few days ago?

  19. At least in Lanark County, Ontario, we can look forward to what may be a good harvest of maple syrup. We have had the right sort of winter. Persistent above 0 C temperatures are not predicted for at least 2 weeks, so we could get the right weather for lots of high quality maple sap.

  20. “The harsh season this year “is a reminder that winters are variable and that weather can always throw an outlier our way,” said Gavin Schmidt…”

    An outlier is better than an out-and-out-liar.

  21. Eric Worrall March 1st 6:07:
    “….you can swim at the local beach all year round.”
    Fantastic! (Apart from the sharks.)

  22. I wonder if the models can handle the differences created by having ice where water is ordinarily open. I noticed earlier this winter, when Hudson Bay froze over early, the initial run of the GFS model had the air temperatures over the Bay, and down wind, way too high. If you start out the model wrong, things can’t get better.

  23. Here’s some interesting trivia. The “Ice extent graphs” do include the Baltic Sea, which hasn’t frozen much this year, but don’t include the Great Lakes, which have. Adding the Great Lakes ice would make a sizable blip in that graph.

  24. “Cold air temperatures remove heat from the water until it reaches the freezing point, at which point ice begins to form on the surface…”

    I wonder how many taxpayer dollars THAT scientific revelation cost us?

  25. January in Waterloo was 10 degrees C below ‘normal’. February has been brutal. Snowfall in this ‘snow belt’ has been modest to say the least because so much of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay is frozen over. But the persistent cold means nothing that fell melted. My street looks like a Norwegian fjord.

    Yesterday morning it was -29 C, breaking the all time record (1980) by a full 7 deg C. For the next few days Waterloo will be 15 to 20 C ‘below normal’…again. It is now March and the maple sap has not yet started to flow, it is so cold.

    We are 2 degrees Latitude south of Portland Oregon. Our climate seems to becoming a lot more ‘continental’.

  26. Water contains latent heat which it loses when it turns to ice. As all that water froze it was releasing heat, (though I sure didn’t notice any, living 500 miles down wind.) Without those lakes releasing that latent heat it would have been colder. (Ordinarily the lakes suck heat from the air, through the process of evaporation, but the ice cut back on that.)

    Conversely, in order to melt all that ice a lot of available heat is going to get turned into latent heat. Even though the ice may be at freezing and the melt-water may be at the same temperature, the mild air will get colder, as heat becomes latent. Then, when the ice is finally all melted, the lakes will still be colder than usual.

    Although the lakes have the effect of warming northern blasts in the early winter, and [make a difference in the temperatures experienced by the people] living downwind in the Northeast USA, (including the big cities,) in the spring the situation is reversed. I expect the reversal will be particularly obvious this spring.

  27. It would be rare indeed to have no weather events to report. And Gavin would find that to be ominous as well.

  28. Edit to above comment.

    Change “…make a difference in the temperatures of the people…”

    To “…make a difference in the temperatures experienced by the people…”

    [You will find hot tempers experienced by people also make a difference in the temperatures experienced by people … Mod]

  29. “Cold air temperatures remove heat from the water until it reaches the freezing point, at which point ice begins to form on the surface, explained Nathan Kurtz, cryospheric scientist NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.”

    Nasa’s cryosphere scientist’s profound statement. If they believe the public is so dumb, no wonder there isn’t a lot of concern how shoddy climate science looks.

  30. “It remains to be seen when the Great Lakes will once again freeze to the extent reached in 2014…”
    _________________
    I think that should read: …”to the extent reached in 1994“.

  31. I understand “Climate Change” as climate changing, due to human-increased CO2, into a warmer climate, not colder. You know, animals migrating north, palm trees in Halifax, no more snow.

  32. Steve from Rockwood says:
    “Ice extent for the Great Lakes going back to 1980″

    Steve, here’s the maximum GL ice coverage graph going back to the 1972-1973 season. It also shows how much each year’s value was measured and how much was “interpolated”.

    http://bit.ly/1mRKIYz

    You’ll notice that this year’s blue bar, which the graph defines as “Ice coverage” is higher than any other blue bar. Only by adding “interpolated” ice data, was the past ice cover greater than this year. Adding ice to the past, making the present look worse, situation normal.

  33. @RealOldOne2. I wonder if interpolated ice is as cold as “real” ice? Thanks for the graph.

  34. The frozen Great Lakes are proof positive of AGW!!! The debate is over!!!
    Want more proof? Well here it is; the Russians just invaded the Ukraine; the S&P 500 is at record levels; the price of clarified butter in Bangladesh is trading within historical averages; JC Penny stock has bottomed out; the City of Rome, Italy, is on the verge of bankruptcy; the temperature in Miami, Florida, is nice and warm and average for the year, etc., etc.

    NEED I GO ON !!!!! The AGW DENIERS MAKE ME WANT TO PUKE!!

  35. I have not seen bare ground since December 20. Jackson, Michigan had their underground municipal water pipes frozen causing major breakage and disruptions. I have no idea how deep they were buried but even in the severe winters of the 1970s I don’t remember that happening. When the temperature hits 20 F it feels like a heat wave,

    I noticed something interesting on Thursday, a bright sunny day. At 1 pm with the temperature at +5F there was standing water everywhere. This time of year Mr Sun starts to trump the thermometer.

  36. You may note that most MSM newspapers that cherish AGW such as Chicago Tribune, Sydney Morning herald etc., do NOT allow comments! Speaks for itself ha.

  37. yesterday, even the sports talk shows were talking about the cold. According to the commentators, Edmonton had a high of -29 and a low of -41. The talk show said that the high on Mars (-22) was warmer than Edmonton.

  38. Anthony
    Great Lakes ice went from 88% to 80% at a time when the GL watershed experienced mid40’s temps and all that melted water ran into the Great Lakes. Lake Superior’s watershed was stuck in the Arctic cold so very little lake ice melting except at a few river’s mouths that empty into Lake Superior. Wiscosin and Michigan’s watersheds dumped both their watershed’s melt water combined into Lake Michigan which is why Lake Micigan has not completely iced over while Lake Huron had iced over a month earlier. Huron’s watershed has a relatively small part of the State of Michigan that receives melt water run off. Most of Lake Huron’s water comes from Lale Superior via the St. Mary’s River, coursing under thick ice to its St Clair River outlet. The lake that hasn’t iced over yet, and it appears to have a long way to go is Lake Ontario which receives the waters from the up stream Great Lakes including from the brief warming episode’s melt water. Lake Ontario’s immediate watershed is relatvely small.
    During the 4 day warm spell, news outlets had video of ice dams rushing down river acting like a bulldozer. There were worries about the ice dams damming rivers and causing flooding. Lately the news outlets are again warning about watershed runoff, ice dams and flooding.

  39. “Lake Superior’s rapid warming is like a canary in the coal mine,” Lenters told me. “We’re seeing changes in ice cover, water temperature, and evaporation that indicate major shifts are underway on the world’s largest lake.” Nat Geo article, Nov 20 2012 Warming Lakes: Climate Change and Variability Drive Low Water Levels on the Great Lakes

    I think the canary froze to death this year.

  40. I have nothing intelligent to add except that I recall swimming in Lake Erie late September, from the north coast, south of London Ontario where I was living. The locals thought I was a bit mental. That’s as maybe but for a Brit of Scandinavian stock it was very pleasant :)

    And then I heard how filthy it was…

  41. Leo Geiger

    We had a cold one last year in 2013 but some places have had huge amounts of mountain snow this year in Europe – Scotland, the Pyrenees and the southern Alps from France to Austria.

    We had a run of colder winters from 2008/9 to 2012/13, similar in fact to the run we had in the early to mid 1980s. In the middle of that period, 1982/3 was very mild.

  42. Here in Norway it seems that the Brits stole our rain in January, and that USA stole our cold in December, January and February? They both will now have to pay a lot to Norway for the damage they have done to us?

    • @Jon – “Here in Norway it seems that the Brits stole our rain in January, and that USA stole our cold in December, January and February?”

      How much to take the cold back? ;-)

  43. http://mynorth.com/2014/02/video-of-lake-michigan-ice-caves-off-the-coast-of-leelanau-in-northern-michigan/

    Here is a link to some video of the caves formed by the wind along the coast of western Michigan. These show show the reason Lake Michigan is not more iced over. The ice has been getting blown toward the shore. We had 60+ mph winds recently that moved the ice, closed numerous roads, closed the Mackinac Bridge, shut the schools through out northern Michigan.

    Yesterday while driving to work on I75 in the UP I checked my truck temperature readout and it was minus 31 F along much of the road but only minus 12 F on the Mackinac Bridge. Then back to minus 18 once off the bridge.

  44. The start of the MLB season should be real fun to watch as the players are forced to wear parkas & mukluks with cleats, while the ball boys sit on toaster ovens full of heated baseballs. Perhaps the Chicago Scrubs Cubs could invite Teh Team to throw out the first pitch snowball on Opening Day? :-D

  45. Mervyn says:
    March 1, 2014 at 5:42 am
    “Because the IPCC faithful have the upper hand with their climate change propaganda, I dread to think about the damage being caused by the political indoctrination occurring at all levels of the education system.”

    Given the cataclysmic visions that will never come to pass that they are teaching our children I can only shake my head in disgust.

  46. i think the significance of the cold weather reports were some people claiming to be experts kept claiming they were 95% certain they would never happen again.

    the uk had the cold last year. it was cold till june.

  47. Obviously there are many interpolatry indicities of coagulated formationary consistencies with climate models.
    According to a new study by Mann/Schmidt/Hansen/Jones/Trenberth/Romm the current winter of discombobulation reveals signs that AGW may be the cause of climate projection disruption.
    Were it not for the CO2 emissions and GHG calamity climate scientists would be able to better predict future climate.
    This provides another good reason to reduce CO2 emissions. To make is easier to project future climate.

    Live wed cam. Grand Haven Michigan. Watch people on lake now.

    http://surfgrandhaven.com/cms/

  48. Scientists say it’s understandable that the Great Lakes have had so much ice this year considering the cold temperatures in the region that persisted through the winter. Cold air temperatures remove heat from the water until it reaches the freezing point, at which point ice begins to form on the surface, explained Nathan Kurtz, cryospheric scientist NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

    I know a couple of people have spoken up but hey, Nathan, thanks for helping us all out with that. Who knew?
    /facepalm

  49. zootcadillac,

    Lake Erie used to be dirty. I grew up next to it, and I remember the stories about the local river [the Cuyahoga] catching fire, etc.

    But they have really cleaned it up. The EPA says the fish are fit to eat, and the water is clean.

    So don’t worry. Something will eventually get you. But it won’t be Lake Erie. ☺

  50. Steve McIntyre says: March 1, 2014 at 8:10 am
    … Edmonton had a high of -29 and a low of -41. The talk show said that the high on Mars (-22) was warmer than Edmonton.

    Mars has more CO2 than Edmonton.

  51. An “outlier” (G. Schmidt’s word choice) implies a rare event. When the Great Lakes freeze this much it is not a rare event, in my view. It seems some really do try to exploit the common people’s collective weather event “amnesia.”

  52. Mike McMillan says: “Mars has more CO2 than Edmonton.”
    Clearly, the Martians do not respect their environment and need to seriously retrofit their gas guzzling UFO’s. By gosh – a new opportunity for AlGore!

  53. Steve McIntyre says:
    March 1, 2014 at 8:10 am
    yesterday, even the sports talk shows were talking about the cold. According to the commentators, Edmonton had a high of -29 and a low of -41. The talk show said that the high on Mars (-22) was warmer than Edmonton.

    ——————————–

    But that’s cuz the Martian atmosphere is over 95% CO2.

    /sarc

  54. how many co2ers does it take to change a light bulb?
    Five. One to change the bulb four others to write reports about how much co2 its caused.

  55. This is probably going to be the worst year ever in the record books for flooding of the Red River basin. I hope those promised levees are in place. I hope too those who live there who can are packed up and ready to go on short notice.

  56. Leo Geiger says:
    March 1, 2014 at 5:32 am

    Another indication of cold winter weather becoming less common would be that it is apparently such an unusual thing this blog has dedicated a large number of posts to the subject this winter. Rare enough these days to be ‘newsworthy’ apparently.
    That’s just plain idiocy. First, I doubt there any more posts than usual this winter than any other (but, who’s counting?). Secondly, on what planet do you live, where cold winter weather is becoming less common? Here on planet Earth, indications are that we are in a cooling phase, despite the fervent imaginings of the Warmist ideologues.

  57. Can anyone explain why Lake Erie is essentially totally frozen over, but Lake Ontario almost not at all?

  58. @ mkelly. Had my wife watch part of the mynorth.com clip on the ice caves. She said, “Where are the penguins?”

  59. looking for something to add to my fire to keep warm. CO2 deathstar reports should have a calorific value on them then they might actually be useful.

  60. Caleb says:
    March 1, 2014 at 6:39 am
    “The harsh season this year “is a reminder that winters are variable and that weather can always throw an outlier our way,” said Gavin Schmidt…”
    An outlier is better than an out-and-out-liar.

    Caleb,
    You win the Best Quip Of The Week award! Nice…
    Mac

  61. @dbstealey Thank you for your reassuring comment. One important piece of data I managed to omit is that this was back in 1980. But yeah. I think it would have got me before now.

    I’ve fallen into the Manchester ship canal in the 80’s and that didn’t kill me ( you could light that thing on fire in places and the locals called the feces and used condoms floating by, “Salford Salmon”. )

    Still kicking up a fuss :)

  62. Leo Geiger- my Geiger counter says your brain
    is not functioning!! Rare ice and snow eh??
    Another blind man.

  63. “Cold air temperatures remove heat from the water until it reaches the freezing point, at which point ice begins to form on the surface, explained Nathan Kurtz, cryospheric scientist NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.”

    No kidding. I needed a cryospheric scientist to tell me that? How about instead of tossing words like “outlier” about, all the Alarmists simply admit that all these “extreme” events they keep blaming global warming for are nothing but natural variability which has been seen before? And admit that nothing politicians are doing has any impact other than to hurt the poor people because it’s driving the cost of energy up?

    Or are they going to claim that the freezes which happened decades ago were caused by one mechanism, while it’s the evil mankind created global warming which is responsible now (that seemed to be the gist of what John Holdren was saying, that global warming had destablized the “Arctic Vortex”…that, like this article, was IMHO nothing more than an appeal for people not to jump ship—speaking of the “ship of fools”…)?

    If so, what was that other mechanism?? Prove that it existed, and that it’s not still responsible now, and Alarmists might force everyone to sit up and pay attention. But I’m betting they cannot, because the same thing that was responsible then is responsible now, and it’s not mankind’s CO2 out put.

    This appears to be nothing but a cutesy-geewhiz! sort of report by people sympathetic to Alarmists (note the quote by Gavin Schmidt) to soften the impact of the thought that despite the increasingly strident tone that “It’s getting warmer!” in AR5, FAR, TAR, etc. back to Schneider, people are cold and paying the price of the idiotic policies propounded by these wolf-criers, and falling off the Green, smiles-and-rainbows-and-happy-polar-bears Warmist-wagon because, you got it, when you’re freezing, it’s kinda hard to worry about being too warm.

    It ain’t all sunshine and unicorns when you’re freezing and forking big bucks over to the power companies, is it?

    Oh! One last time: since they’re making so much money, thanks to the increases in the cost of every form of energy because of the policies of the Green-leaning political class and the Alarmist crowd, just who is it that Big Oil and the rest supposedly funding again? Anthony, are you holding out on us?

    7;->

  64. Echoing Curt at 9:45 am
    Why is Ontario so different than Erie? Waste heat from powerplants? I’d think Erie had just as many. Geothermal hotspot? Is it much deeper than Erie so volume/surface-area is larger?

    By the way…. We have Argo making vertical profiles of the deep ocean. Is anyone making daily temperature profiles of any of the Great Lakes? A moored solar powered bouy ought to do the trick just fine. IF someone is measuring, what is the project name and what is a link to the data analysis?

  65. Back in the old days, a common truism was, “Everybody talks about the weather but no one ever does anything about it.”

    Now, the IPCC is finally trying to do something about it and deniers are complaining.

    /sarc

  66. Re: why Ontario is different than Erie:
    Is it much deeper than Erie so volume/surface-area is larger?
    Yep. Avg depth of Erie is 19 meters. Avg Depth of Ontario is 89 meters.
    Ontario has about 3.5 times the water, but 3/4 of the surface area as Erie.

    It might not be the only reason, but it is a reason.

  67. Curt says:

    March 1, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Can anyone
    explain why Lake Erie is essentially totally frozen over, but Lake Ontario almost not at all?

    Curt Erie has an average depth of 210′ and Ontario has average depth of 810′. Plus Ontario gets all the “warm” water from all the other lakes. Those are a couple of the reasons.

  68. From the Green Bay WI Press Gazette, today March 1.
    Coldest winter ever? Green Bay sees record 49th day below zero
    Its not a good winter to be a weather record in Wisconsin. Or anything else, for that matter.
    A pair of records fell within hours of each other in Green Bay early Friday.
    At midnight, Green Bay made it 49 days with subzero temperatures, the most in a winter. The previous record, 48 days, was set in 1976-77.
    …more..

    http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20140228/GPG0101/302280167/Coldest-winter-ever-Green-Bay-sees-record-49th-day-below-zero

  69. RealOldOne2,

    Thanks for the link to the larger data set of Great Lakes Ice Extent!!!!

    Given the Ice Extent during the winters of 85 and 86 I wouldn’t consider this winters extent an outlier. I don’t think the experts over at Wiki would either-

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outlier

  70. @R Babcock says:
    March 1, 2014 at 5:28 am

    “It will be interesting to see how much influence this much ice will have on the weather in the upper midwest of the US this spring. Right now it appears the arctic cold will persist through mid-March and with the warming south, there will no doubt be some doozy storms created at the boundaries of the two air masses through April. Lot’s of snow persisting into late Spring?”

    Of note, my copy of Old Farmer’s 2014 Almanac says that Baltimore, somewhat north of me, can expect it’s last Spring Frost on April 11th.

    I think @bob tisdale said it best.

    @Curt says:
    March 1, 2014 at 9:45 am

    “Can anyone explain why Lake Erie is essentially totally frozen over, but Lake Ontario almost not at all?”

    See:
    @RiHo08 says:
    March 1, 2014 at 8:19 am

    a little further upstream for a great description of what’s going on. I wondered about that too, but I believe my question was answered.

  71. So how does cold air “remove” heat???

    Is it a mechanical process we don’t know about?

    Either a very poor choice of words or someone who failed Thermo 101.

    It is that delta T thingie that drives the energy transfer. Nothing is removed, it is nature at ‘work’!

  72. Stephen Rasey says:
    March 1, 2014 at 10:25 am
    Re: why Ontario is different than Erie:
    Is it much deeper than Erie so volume/surface-area is larger?
    Yep. Avg depth of Erie is 19 meters. Avg Depth of Ontario is 89 meters.
    Ontario has about 3.5 times the water, but 3/4 of the surface area as Erie.
    It might not be the only reason, but it is a reason.

    Stepan,
    Your question stirred cogitation about another ‘potential’ contributor:
    Lake Ontario is below Niagara Falls. Work is being done, when the potential energy of the Lake Erie water above the falls is converted into kinetic energy at the bottom of the falls. A small amount of heating will occur as a result. Small but continuous…. and always flowing into Lake Ontario.
    Mac

  73. You also keep spelling your last name wrong, dear Mac (it is “Knight” {as in in Shining Armor}).
    #(:))

  74. Lake Erie is quite shallow with a Maximum depth of 210 feet, about 700 feet shallower than Michigan and 1100 feet shallower than Superior. Great walleye fishing in Erie. Great Salmon fishing in Michigan. Great Lake Trout fishing in Superior. Actually great fishing in all the lakes for many species , just depending on what you are after. World’s best Muskie fishing in Lake St. Clair between Huron and Erie.

  75. Thank you, Steve in Rockwood, for that fine graph for historical context. (6:56am today)

    Yes, Alan Robertson (“Hi,” she said in her extraordinary way, “hope all is well.”),
    evidence for your keen-eyed correction (at 7:11am today) is found in Steve of Rockwood’s graph.

  76. For the (as usual) late to the party (“Duhhh, why are we, uuuh, talking about ice and stuff like that here? Hyuck, hyuck! Must mean ice is a rare thing these days.”) troll above…

    THIS type of AGW spew about ice is why ice extent in the northern hemisphere is talked about:

    {Note: This is a typical example, little troll-of-shaky-reasoning. We could provide you with many more, however, being the good teachers that we all are, here, we know that you will benefit far more if you do your own research.}

  77. Janice Moore says:
    March 1, 2014 at 11:18 am
    You also keep spelling your last name wrong, dear Mac (it is “Knight” {as in in Shining Armor}).
    #(:))

    Awww gaawrchhhh, Sweet Pea,
    Ya got me blushin’ in front of all these folks!
    How’s things where you are?
    Have had snow flurries off and on all morning here, just south of the Seattle Socialist Workers Paradise.
    “Put another log on the fire…”
    Mac

  78. Bruce Cobb says (in response to Leo Geiger): That’s just plain idiocy. First, I doubt there any more posts than usual this winter than any other (but, who’s counting?). Secondly, on what planet do you live, where cold winter weather is becoming less common? Here on planet Earth, indications are that we are in a cooling phase, despite the fervent imaginings of the Warmist ideologues.

    I live on this planet:
    The combined global land and ocean average temperature during January 2014 was 0.65°C (1.17°F) above the 20th century average. This was the warmest January since 2007 and the fourth highest since records began in 1880. This marks the ninth consecutive month (since May 2013) with a global monthly temperature among the 10 highest for its respective month.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2014/1

    North America is not the world, and weather is not climate. But I can understand how people who use this blog as an information source might not have realized this past January was globally the 4th warmest on record.

  79. Yes, indeed, Andres Valencia #(:)) (at 7:16am today).

    For YEARS, now, the AGWers have been screaming that Polar Bears would have to order in boatloads of ice for their Cokes… penguins would take up hula dancing… “tropical hot spot,”…. and on and on….. .
    For a bit of documentary evidence of their outlandish conjecture (the refuting of which, thus, makes the above post relevant), see a typical propaganda film:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0J3l23foaOI

    Actually…. I hope they make MORE films like this one. Heh, heh.

  80. Hi, Mac!

    Things are about the same up here as where you are.

    Thanks for responding! Great info. re: your old stomping grounds above. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Take care,

    J.

  81. Bruce Cobb says (re: Geiger the Troll) (at 9:40am) “… Warmist ideologues.”

    Geiger substantiating Cobb at 12:41pm: “… this past January was globally the 4th warmest on record.”

  82. ” this year, they’re still picking up a fair amount of snow,””

    Um, yeah:

    http://www.muskokaregion.com/news-story/4340377-record-snowfall-two-months-running/

    (Note: this report is a month old, and “reporting fatigue” has set in.

    BTW, this is what it looks like coming in:

  83. @Leo: unsurprising that temperature anomalies are so high, since you alarmists add so much heat in cooking the data.

  84. Leo Geiger says:
    March 1, 2014 at 12:41 pm
    This was the warmest January since 2007 and the fourth highest since records began in 1880.

    On the other hand, for RSS, this was only the 9th warmest January.

  85. @ C. Jones (re: snow front) — NEATO!

    @Akatsu — lol.

    @ Herr Brozek — Guten tag. #(:)) Way to refute the propaganda!

  86. Leo Geiger says:
    March 1, 2014 at 12:41 pm
    *************************************
    And what is notable about January is the large high pressure area off the coast of the pacific NW and over Alaska that well do what high pressure areas do – allow air to sink, compress and warm.

    That high appears to have acted like a huge ‘fan’ or pump since the air was then forced over the north pole where it cooled and subsequently spilled south over the remainder of north america.

    With the high now gone and cold air still spilling south it will be interesting how the temps fare.

  87. Mac the Knife says:
    March 1, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Stepan,
    Your question stirred cogitation about another ‘potential’ contributor:
    Lake Ontario is below Niagara Falls. Work is being done, when the potential energy of the Lake Erie water above the falls is converted into kinetic energy at the bottom of the falls. A small amount of heating will occur as a result. Small but continuous…. and always flowing into Lake Ontario.
    Mac

    Don’t forget, that humans, first convert the kinetic energy to mech/electrical. It works for both the U.S. and Can. citizens mainly. GK

  88. Leo Geiger

    I also believe in man made global warming you only have to look at this graph to see it.

    http://stevengoddard.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/1998changesannotated.gif?w=500&h=355

    Thanks to Steve we can see where most of the records you quote come from, yep real man made global warming. Unfortunately for us most of it is on paper or in modern times resides it the fraudsters computers. One last thing the number they come up with, even without manipulation, it really doesn’t tell us much, they are trying to find some kind of signal when the “noise” outruns the so call signal. Maybe if we had honest people collecting and preserving the data in few hundred years we might be able to make some definitive statements about what happening but where we are at is like prediction that a two year old might be a great athlete.

    So little data so much to know, unfortunately far too many people their egos will not let allow them to admit that. One last parting shot I certain that graph was post here keep reading this site and do go to Steve site you might learn there is far more to this than the one metric you like to point to, and most don’t really tell us anything other than what happen this day, this month this year and this century can tell very little about what will tomorrow bring let alone next month, next year of a century from now. When it come to climate prediction the Farmers alimac it about just as useful and anyone else’s long range predictions. I don’t put much weight in any of them.

  89. CaligulaJones

    You photo looks a lot like Phoenix in the summertime you only have to change the white to brown, and add about hundred degrees to the temp and you have it. Oh by the way the weather in Mesa was beautiful yesterday, had the patio door open all day, today not so much something strange and wet is falling out of the sky, kinda forgotten what it is.

  90. Regarding photos of ice banks, don’t try drilling a hole and icefishing in front of those giant shoreline ice banks unless you are prepared to poke through 8 to 10 FEET of solid ice chunks and slush below your hole. There is a lot more ice there than meets the eye. The same forces that make huge ice banks also pile up ice in front of the banks, usually most of the way to the bottom. Then it freezes on top and all that ice is locked in place. You may have to go 100 yards or more away from the banks to get into clear water under your ice fishing hole.

  91. Joe Bastardi has a good handle on March, as he does most everything weather. Better buy more heaters for east of the Rockies.

  92. When someone such as Leo G. suggests I ought to be concerned about warming of Earth’s atmosphere, I look here:

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/

    Sometimes, just for a change I look at the RSS chart. Anyway, the Jan. 2014 departure from the 1981-2010 mean is shown as +0.29 C. degree. During these years almost nothing has happened. I can walk from my bedroom into my bathroom and then to the living room and the temperature will change that much. Outside, native trees, shrubs, and grasses are the same as they were when this valley was first visited by white folks about 200 years ago. Back in Pennsylvania where I was raised, I can add another 200 years to that and say the same thing. [Native Chestnuts excluded, of course.] And the gentle poking people Leo hears from in Europe can say the same thing, just add a few more years to the total.
    And Leo, that first paragraph you wrote – it is just made up stuff. No one cares a wit about the stuff you make up.

  93. A lot of useless tautology in the statements Nathan Kurtz makes. Scientists say… plug in a kettle and the water warms, step on the accelerator and the car goes, water is wet…

  94. Leo Geiger says:
    March 1, 2014 at 5:32 am
    Another indication of cold winter weather becoming less common would be that it is apparently such an unusual thing this blog has dedicated a large number of posts to the subject this winter.

    You say “cold winter weather becoming less common”.
    Northern Hemisphere winter snow extent has been trending up since 1967. The last six years look pretty ‘normal’ to me.

    http://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/chart_seasonal.php?ui_set=nhland&ui_season=1

  95. Leo Geigher says “North America is not the world, and weather is not climate.”

    We chaps here know this. We also know that if North America had a warm, dry winter they would be shrieking like wild parakeets about global warming. As for weather not being the climate I agree . Tell that to the Warmists who tell us about loaded dice.

  96. I dunno … I predicted cold for this winter, but this extended and this much?? … for 3 months+ … and now Lake Michigan is threatening to do a freeze over again. And I bet if you flew over just before thawing weather it would be frozen solid. I don’t think the mainstream media will allow it to be said if it is frozen over. I think it will have frozen over twice by then (once before the very short thaw).

    I grew up on Lake Michigan(I am 61 y.o. now) and this winter is epic. Just as Dr. Easterbrook has testified before Congress that the government agencies have doctored the data he deals with to make it look warmer now … I am pretty sure they have doctored the ice data and what we are being told/shown. Just look at the linked graph on the post by RealOldOne above … interpolated ice added only on older years … Several times this winter NOAA and CIS have changed the way they were presenting the map data at times that would be ripe for manipulating or confusing the issue of actual ice coverage.

    I did my M.S. thesis on the time from the last glacial maximum (about 15,000 years ago) to present (in Geology), and you could easily see the fallacies in Mann’s hockey stick if you were familiar with this time frame. Now it is infamous, yet that point is obfuscated in the MSM.

    If a little ice age or major ice age was going to start, IMO these last couple of years is what it would look like. Epic extended cold and record colds in multiple places (Europe last year) … very unusual events at lower latitudes like snow on the pyramids and multiple snow covered roof collapse in Japan … Antarctic ice growing strong, solar irradiance low and going lower .. some epic cold spells in South America. And certainly not least of all the temps in our mid-continent were very cold for December, January, February, and now thru mid-March at least … way below normal. The areas it was this cold are right where previous ice sheets have descended.

    On the bright side … I have moved to Hawai’i so I don’t have to worry about it too much … but I have to say I now understand what those that study climate and frequent this blog go through dealing with the global alarmists. It is absurd and it hurts science. At least we know how Galileo felt!

  97. Point being, the weather we are getting globally, is NOT what the CAGW or AGW crew predicted.. Is it Leo? We were supposed to be burning by now. I have heard for 35 years “the warming is coming”. Well, we are still within KNOWN climate ranges, unless you deny the warm periods and the cold periods that are KNOWN to have occurred. Unprecedented (outlier in this case) is used when it only reveals ignorance on the subject. Even the speed at which it is occurring is not unusual when you know what is in the literature. But that stuff doesn’t count, does it?
    All regulars here are aware of weather records covering all ranges, from surface temperature stations (surfacestations,org, which you should take a close look at, by the way), to solar activity (TSI, CME’s, Magnetic field,etc) to the inconvenient paleo-records (Geologic, historic, etc.).

    Time to look at the information that you will find distasteful, Leo.

  98. The weather in the US isn’t the world, but this isn’t suppose to be happening according to prediction by the AGW community. And yes if was a mild winter here in the US, AGW would have been shrilling about how it is global warming. Which weather events are they talking about that are not normal or cyclic now? A rouge rain storm in California? They were saying the same thing about the drought in the Midwest. I have an idea, have them look up the PDO.

  99. Re: Mars having more CO2 than Edmonton
    Atmospheric pressure on Mars average 7-8 millibars, 95% CO2.
    CO@ partial pressure at Edmonton ~1,000 millibars x .0004 = 0.4 millibar partial pressure
    Q.E.D.

  100. Leo Geiger, the loyal AGW scientists don’t seem to have got the memo about this being the warmest January since 2007… http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/28/the-top-ten-reasons-global-temperature-hasnt-warmed-for-the-last-15-years/ – for a handy list of AGW true believers papers of excuses as to why it hasn’t. You’d think that the ones pubbed in 2014 could have put a ‘yay it’s stopped pausing’ addendum if it had, or published loudly on the net. So… as it is so warm all over the world except the US – what was that about snow in Cairo?

  101. Leo Geiger says: March 1, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    North America is not the world, and weather is not climate. But I can understand how people who use this blog as an information source might not have realized this past January was globally the 4th warmest on record.

    You are throwing out 92% of the data when you discard the other months of the year.

  102. Last week it was -50 f on the north slope. It’ll be there soon for those of you in the lower 48 thinking you’re getting summer this year.

  103. Gavin says
    This (cold snap) is an outlier
    Henry says
    Unfortunately this cold is not an outlier
    We are globally cooling as 4 major datasets are showing:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1987/to:2015/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2002/to:2015/trend/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1987/to:2015/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:2002/to:2015/trend/plot/rss/from:1987/to:2015/plot/rss/from:2002/to:2015/trend/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1987/to:2015/plot/hadsst2gl/from:2002/to:2015/trend/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1987/to:2002/trend/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1987/to:2002/trend/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1987/to:2002/trend/plot/rss/from:1987/to:2002/trend

    Currently, you would not notice much at the lower latitudes as more water vapor condenses which releases enormous amounts of energy. But I did pick up a definitive trend at the higher latitudes:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/03/01/southern-sea-ice-area-minimum-2nd-highest-on-record/

    Even Nasa admits that antarctic ice is increasing
    We are cooling from the top [90] latitudes down.
    Danger from global cooling must not be underestimated.
    According to my calculations we are about 7 years off from the start of a similar drought period as happened in 1932-1939.

    http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2013/04/29/the-climate-is-changing/

  104. In a cooling world, while no particular weather anomaly such as the Great Freeze of the Great Lakes can be specifically attributed to cooling, we are more likely to see more of such events in the future.

  105. Leo Geiger says:
    March 1, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Bruce Cobb says (in response to Leo Geiger): That’s just plain idiocy. First, I doubt there any more posts than usual this winter than any other (but, who’s counting?). Secondly, on what planet do you live, where cold winter weather is becoming less common? Here on planet Earth, indications are that we are in a cooling phase, despite the fervent imaginings of the Warmist ideologues.

    I live on this planet:
    The combined global land and ocean average temperature during January 2014 was 0.65°C (1.17°F) above the 20th century average. This was the warmest January since 2007 and the fourth highest since records began in 1880. This marks the ninth consecutive month (since May 2013) with a global monthly temperature among the 10 highest for its respective month.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2014/1

    North America is not the world, and weather is not climate. But I can understand how people who use this blog as an information source might not have realized this past January was globally the 4th warmest on record.

    In January, it’s not “winter” in the southern hemisphere. Your “global” temperature for January is irrelevant to the question of whether winters are getting colder.

  106. I am curious about next winter’s ice cover. If US and Canadian ice breakers are still breaking ice in May, does this suggest much colder lakes in the fall and an earlier start to ice cover? And, how long can the USCGC Mackinaw keep up this pace?

  107. RE: Windsong says:
    March 2, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    I am wondering the same thing.

    Time will tell, but if the waters are significantly colder in the fall, Lake Ontario is more likely to freeze next winter.

  108. If the ice grows at all the next few days it will be truly remarkable, despite subzero air. It is March, after all, and the sun is much higher, and days are much longer.

    Consider, if you will, the fact that days are now as long as they are in early October, when maples are just starting to turn red and many other northern species of plants are still green and growing. My pasture is still green, in October, when days are eleven and a quarter hours long.

    The sun has real power now. If the ice grows, sit up and take notice.

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  110. 03MAR14: Per NOAA Great Lakes ice coverage is being reported as 90.5% for the analysis done on 02MAR14.

  111. @rrogerknights
    For the past twelve year earth has been cooling
    It is mainly from the top latitudes down
    See my results on alaska reported earlier
    Records before fourty years ago are completely different to those now.
    We now have automatic temp recording every second of the day.

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