Great Lakes Ice Page

Great Lakes Ice Cover – Color

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Great Lakes Ice Cover – Gray-scale

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Historical Annual Maximum Ice Coverage

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Air Temperature

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

1 Day Average North America Temperature Animation

Robert Hart, PhD. -Coolwx.com – Click the pic to view at source

Water Temperature

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Cloud Cover

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Wind

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Waves

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Lake Michigan

Ice Concentration

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Current Year Ice Cover

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Historical Annual Maximum Ice Coverage

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Ice Thickness

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Ice Velocity

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Vessel Icing

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Lake Superior
Ice Concentration

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Current Year Ice Cover

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Historical Annual Maximum Ice Coverage

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Ice Thickness

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Ice Velocity

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Vessel Icing

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Lake Erie

Ice Concentration

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Current Year Ice Cover

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Historical Annual Maximum Ice Coverage

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Ice Thickness

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Ice Velocity

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Vessel Icing

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Lake Ontario

Ice Concentration

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Current Year Ice Cover

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Historical Annual Maximum Ice Coverage

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Ice Thickness

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Ice Velocity

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Vessel Icing

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Lake Huron

Ice Concentration

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Current Year Ice Cover

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Historical Annual Maximum Ice Coverage

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Ice Thickness

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Ice Velocity

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Vessel Icing

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image

Source Guide:

Coolwx.com – Robert Hart, PhD
Home Page – http://www.coolwx.com?bandwidth=high/

NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA)
Home Page – http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/
Products Page – http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/res/glcfs/
Ice Cover Page – http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/data/pgs/ice.html

Additional Resources:

Canadian Ice Service
Home Page – http://iceweb1.cis.ec.gc.ca/
Product Search – http://iceweb1.cis.ec.gc.ca/Prod20/page1.xhtml?lang=en&grp=Guest
Ice Cover Graphs – http://iceweb1.cis.ec.gc.ca/Prod20/page2.xhtml?subID=2014&grp=&lang=en

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20 Responses to Great Lakes Ice Page

  1. upcountrywater says:

    WUWT, perfect! Just when I was wanting to know what the Great Lakes were doing. Voilà here you are with a ‘Great Lakes Ice Page…..

  2. Bob Weber says:

    Cool!

  3. noaaprogrammer says:

    Would there be any way to get ice-breaker information – showing the paths made through the ice.

  4. noaaprogrammer says: March 6, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Would there be any way to get ice-breaker information – showing the paths made through the ice.

    Yes, I covered in some depth here:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/17/anthropogenic-influences-on-lake-ice-coverage-ice-breakers-waste-heat-dams-etc/

    Per this comment:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/17/anthropogenic-influences-on-lake-ice-coverage-ice-breakers-waste-heat-dams-etc/#comment-1570824

    “Two scientists from NASA and NOAA have developed a new space-based technique for monitoring the ice cover of the Great Lakes that is so accurate it can identify a narrow channel of open water cut through the ice by an icebreaker — even at night.”

    “The new method, co-developed by Nghiem and his colleague George Leshkevich of NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Ann Arbor, Mich., not only corrects that problem, it also gives a more accurate analysis of ice characteristics, such as whether the ice is dense or full of bubbles, and whether it has melted and refrozen.”
    http://climate.nasa.gov/news/998

    However, I have not yet come across real-time imagery based upon Nghiem and Leshkevich’s method, which was introduced in October, 2013:
    http://www.iaglr.org/jglr/release/39/2013.05.003_leshkevich.php

    Until then, this site shows the locations of the large ships currently on the Great Lakes:
    http://ais.boatnerd.com/

    If you uncheck the buttons on the right you can see just the Coast Guard Ice Breaker locations.

  5. RACookPE1978 says:

    All are reminded that the Great Lakes, and the other fresh water inland lakes like Russia’s Baikal, are NOT included in the NSIDC’s Sea Ice Total reports.

    They have also told me that the Antarctic’s permanent ice shelves around that continent are NOT included in the southern sea ice extents either.

  6. Is it known whether there have been any changes in the ice extent assessment procedure over time? Both Lake Superior and Lake Erie, which freeze over the most often, push up against 100% repeatedly before 2000, but only reach a maximum extent of ~95% after that. Given that they have now been sitting at that extent for a good while this year, while the other lakes have continued to build ice, one wonders if there has been some change in the scoring system at around 2000.

  7. Scott says:

    The historical trend of lake temperature would be a good reference, to see if the lakes are approaching ice-up faster or slower than previous years, or when they hit their summer peak is it warmer or colder than previous years. They have one for each lake, 5 years of temperatures in one plot, here is Lake Michigans.

    http://coastwatch.glerl.noaa.gov/statistic/avg-sst.php?lk=m&yr=0

  8. Charlie says:

    @ Michael Palmer

    Both Lake Superior and Lake Erie, which freeze over the most often, push up against 100% repeatedly before 2000, but only reach a maximum extent of ~95% after that. Given that they have now been sitting at that extent for a good while this year, while the other lakes have continued to build ice, one wonders if there has been some change in the scoring system at around 2000.

    I don’t think the lack of 100% ice cover is due to a change in measurement procedure. Most likely it is due to polynyas or similar phenomenon keeping small areas of water open. Unless we get an extended period of no wind with continued low temperatures it is unlikely that the lakes will achieve 100% ice coverage. In places where there is a continuous offshore wind, the wind will push ice away from the shoreline leaving small patches of open water. Between the wind and water currents moving the ice around you will almost always end up with some open areas of water, even when the temperature is cold enough to freeze things very quickly.

  9. CRS, DrPH says:

    The icing over of the Great Lakes is having wide-spread repercussions in the Jewish community this Passover!!

    Fish markets typically spend this time of year preparing hundreds of pounds of whitefish for their Jewish customers to mix with onions and carrots for gefilte fish recipes handed down by grandmothers and mothers.

    This year, however, Chicago-area fish suppliers are dealing with panicked cooks after a shortage of whitefish has left many scrambling to prepare the traditional, if not sometimes dreaded, menu item for Passover, which begins Monday evening.

    Robert Schuffler, 97, has worked at Robert’s Fish on Devon for more than half a century and owned it for decades. “The amount of people that came in, they want eight whitefish, 10 whitefish. If they’re good customers through the year, we give them two whitefish. … It’s never been like this. Never.”

    The shortage comes after ice on the Great Lakes kept fishermen from sending their boats out for a catch usually available in abundance this time of year, said Mark Holey, a project leader for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-04-11/news/chi-passover-cooks-face-rationing-of-whitefish-20140411_1_whitefish-fish-markets-ira-kirsche

  10. The Canadian ice service has an interesting plot of how late the ice is hanging on this year on the great lakes. The plots only go back to 80/81 so not a long record but this year may not have had the peak ice level but clearly it has had the highest average and longest lasting ice levels.

    http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/prods/CVCHDCTGL/20140428180000_CVCHDCTGL_0007639788.pdf
    as well as how high the average amount of ice has been.
    http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/prods/CVCHACTGL/20140428180000_CVCHACTGL_0007639790.pdf
    and last the comparison to normal ice levels.
    http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/prods/CVCSWCTGL/20140428180000_CVCSWCTGL_0007639786.pdf

  11. CRS, DrPH says:

    http://www.fortmilltimes.com/2014/04/26/3440671/lake-superior-ice-causes-shipping.html
    Lake Superior ice causes shipping delays
    The Associated Press
    April 26, 2014 

    DULUTH, MINN. — Thick ice on Lake Superior is causing shipping delays, with about 60 ships waiting to enter the area, according to the Coast Guard.

    The ships are “certainly not delivering the raw material at the frequency that the facilities need,” said Mark Gill, director of vessel traffic services for the Coast Guard at the Soo Locks between Lakes Superior and the lower lakes. “That’s put a drain universally on steel production, power production, grain shipments, and many other industries that suffer as a result of that.”

    Lake Superior is still about 60 percent ice covered, Gill told Minnesota Public Radio News (http://bit.ly/1mK972v). Three heavy ice breakers are escorting convoys of five ships across the lake, where wind-blown ice is still 8 feet thick in places.

    The season’s first trip from Duluth to lower Lake Michigan took two weeks. It normally takes less than three days. Some steel mills and power plants around the Great Lakes have run low on supplies of iron ore and coal.

    Gill hopes convoys will only be needed for another week to 10 days.

  12. CRS, DrPH says:

    A ship built for the ocean, coming from Brazil, was no match for icy Lake Superior this week. And so it was for the Diana, the celebrated first saltie in Duluth for the season that was rudely welcomed late Wednesday by ice — just outside of the shipping canal — that rendered it stuck twice.

    http://www.rivertowns.net/content/first-saltie-needs-help-through-ice-0

  13. Stuart says:

    Does anyone know the latest date in any year in the past, that Lake Superior still contained ice?

  14. CRS, DrPH says:

    Lake Superior still has considerable ice as of this Memorial Day, this article has some great pictures!

    http://www.weather.com/news/lake-superior-ice-memorial-day-weekend-2014-20140526

  15. CRS, DrPH says:

    It’s June 5, 2014, and there is still ice on Lake Superior!

    http://www.livingstondaily.com/article/20140604/NEWS01/140604003/Michigan-s-endless-summer-Yes-there-s-still-ice-Lake-Superior

    The Marquette Mining-Journal reports that according to some forecasts, the ice may last until July: “To many area residents who suffered through one of the worst winters on record for the area, seeing the ice chunks on the lake every day is a continuing reminder of that wintry grip of Mother Nature, which still has yet to completely loosen,” the paper noted on its website.

  16. CRS, DrPH says:

    Lake Superior FINALLY ice-free as of June 12, 2014!!

    The Great Lakes are officially — and finally — free of ice.

    One of the coldest winters on record covered most of the Great Lakes with ice, including an entirely iced-over Lake Superior, and it’s taken a while for it to melt.

    But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration CoastWatch declared Thursday that the Great Lakes total ice cover finally reached 0%.

    This year was the longest ice has been seen on Lake Superior in 40 years of NOAA records.

    The Great Lakes hit the second-highest ice coverage on record on March 6 with 92% of the five lakes covered in ice. Temperatures in the Great Lakes region averaged 7 degrees below normal from Jan. 1 to April 1, according to AccuWeather Global Weather Center.

    The last time ice coverage lasted almost this long was in 2003 when the last ice melted on May 29.

    More than a third of the Great Lakes remained covered in ice by mid-April this year, and that caused problems for shipping. The Coast Guard was out on the lakes breaking up ice from early December through spring.

    With ice just now gone, water temperatures are unseasonably low for this time of year, with temperatures as low as the 40s. Low lake temperatures will have a big impact on summer weather in communities along the Great Lakes, including Milwaukee. Forecasters say lower-than-normal water temperatures on the Great Lakes could lead to more widespread fog and less severe weather.

    http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/brrrr-ing-on-summer-ice-on-lake-superior-is-finally-gone-b99290102z1-262914301.html

  17. CRS, DrPH says:

    The Polar Vortex just keeps on giving:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-chicago-fog-thanks-to-polar-vortex-20140627,0,895457.story

    If Chicago’s lakefront has felt more like San Francisco lately, that’s one more thing you can blame on the polar vortex.

    Chicagoans might have imagined they saw the Golden Gate Bridge rising out of the fog downtown this week. Following several consecutive foggy mornings, Chicago has had 32 hours of fog and low clouds this month — quadruple normal levels, according to the National Weather Service.

    The moisture and chilly air are another lingering effect of the past winter, which was the coldest December to March on record, and the third snowiest winter, Senior Meteorologist Gino Izzy said.

    Sub-zero temperatures covered a record 93 percent of Lake Michigan with ice this winter. That left the lake colder than ever this far into summer. The mid-lake reading east of Milwaukee was only 40 degrees on Tuesday, compared to an average temperature of 62 for the last week of June.

  18. CRS, DrPH says:

    It turns out that the thick ice cover and heavy snows were good for our Great Lakes!

    “The higher lake levels are definitely benefiting boaters,” Stevenson said.

    Especially those carrying weighty cargo.

    Last month, for instance, the higher water levels meant that one laker leaving from Duluth, Minn., was able to take 2,300 more tons of iron ore onboard than at the same time last year, according to Glen Nekvasil, vice president of the Lake Carriers’ Association. Nekvasil estimated that the extra cargo, when turned into steel, would be able to make almost 3,000 more cars.

    “Thank goodness we have more water here, because we really need to make up the cargo we lost,” said Nekvasil, pointing out that record-breaking ice cover this winter also slowed Great Lakes shipping down considerably.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-great-lakes-welcome-rising-water-levels-20140707,0,257225.story

  19. CRS, DrPH says:

    July 15, 2014, and Lake Michigan is still chilly!! The yellow perch and salmon are enjoying it!

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-brutal-winter-lives-on-in-icy-lake-water-temperatures-20140715,0,4173702.story

    The cold snap that has descended upon Chicago can be felt most keenly in the water of Lake Michigan, where temperatures are well below normal for mid-summer.

    Ricky Castro, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Chicago office, said the water off some Chicago beaches is in the upper 50s. That’s quite a bit chillier than the usual summer readings in the 70s, and is a legacy of the brutal winter endured by the region.

    Philip Willink, senior research biologist at the Shedd Aquarium, said some fish species that thrive in the cold have made a comeback this year.

    “We seem to see a resurgence of the cooler water fish like the yellow perch, and we’ve had one of the best coho salmon years we’ve seen in a long time,” he said.

  20. CRS, DrPH says:

    July 31, 2014 – Lake Michigan’s cold temps are suppressing ambient temps in Chicago this summer….

    http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/Extremely-cold-winter-leaves-Lake-Michigan-cooler-than-normal-267022661.html

    MILWAUKEE – The effects of our extremely cold winter can still be felt in Lake Michigan.  
    “The water temperature this year is averaging quite a bit below normal,” said Steve Hentz, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sullivan.
    The average temperature as of Friday should have been 64 degrees.  It was closer to 57.
     
    “[It's because] of the colder winter that we had, in addition to the much greater than normal ice cover.  Spring was also cool and summer here – now, we’ve warmed up a little bit, but we’re not really having a hot summer.  In general, it’s due to the cold temperatures we’ve been having ever since winter.”
     
    The difference is even more dramatic when you go back a couple of years.
     
    “In 2012 and 2010 we had Lake Michigan temperatures around 75 degrees and right now we’re in the mid to upper 50s, so we’re almost 20 degrees cooler than we were just two years ago,” said Hentz. 

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