Still ice on Lake Superior – never before seen to this extent in the satellite era

Lake_superior_memorial_day_iceIceAgeNow writes: As of today, 27 May 2014, Lake Superior ice cover stands at 4.3% – the greatest level of ice seen on this date, not only on Lake Superior, but on all of the Great Lakes since modern satellite records in 1980-81. Get a load of this picture that shows the Lake Superior beaches on Memorial Day.

Bill Steffen, meteorologist at WOOD-TV writes:

The high temperature at the Marquette Airport (well inland) was 85° on Sunday…but…  This is what it looked like at the beach! (pic. from the Marquette NWS facebook page and Doug Vanb).   Easiest day a lifeguard ever had.    Check out this picture Sunday from the beach at Grand Marais.  Note, not only the expanse of ice, but also, no leaves on the trees yet.  Here’s Union Bay – Silver City MI on Friday.  Here’s the ice at  Black River HarborAnother pic. of the ice at Marquette.


Current ice cover measured by satellite:

Great Lakes Ice-27May14

For more info, see the WUWT Great Lakes Ice page:

UPDATE: The headline was truncated and gave an inaccurate viewpoint that ice had never been seen on Lake Superior at this late date. It has been updated to reflect that it is about extent, not just the mere appearance of it.

Thanks to Twitter follower for the note and this photo:


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May 27, 2014 12:40 pm

2 things.
#1 – It cannot be “X00%” since the denominator would be 0.
#2 – At least no one can say the swim would not be refreshing and invigorating!

May 27, 2014 12:41 pm

OK CAGW SpinnerScientists – go for it! (can’t wait YAWN)

May 27, 2014 12:47 pm

It’s a been a late start to spring in the West as well. Trees didn’t leaf out until last week in Alberta.

Peter Miller
May 27, 2014 12:47 pm

Remember, you heard it here first:
Another case proving global warming is about to cause imminent Thermageddon.

Dell from Michigan
May 27, 2014 12:50 pm

Being from Michigan, we finally got some warmer weather this weekend. After this past winter, whatever happened to Al Gore’s empty promises of Global Warming and disapearing winters?
Oh thats right, the difference between “weather” and “climate”.
If it can be used to support global warming, its “climate”, if is going against global warming, its just “weather”.

Anything is possible
May 27, 2014 12:54 pm

“Never before seen in satellite era”
Or, to translate it into alarmist-speak : “Unprecedented!”

Chad Wozniak
May 27, 2014 12:55 pm

. . . and anyone can STILL believe in global warming?!?!!?
Warmest winter ever (per Huff Post) in Chicago?!?!!??

May 27, 2014 12:59 pm

Hmmmm, the polar bear club can go out in the water even in May this year, eh? That climate change stuff is real tricky ya know.

May 27, 2014 1:03 pm

Chad Wozniak…
Warmest winter in Chicago ever???
Huff Post must be huffing something…Or I think you got their headline backward.
It was record average cold temps in Chicago this last winter. See…

May 27, 2014 1:11 pm

I wouldn’t worry about this, because I’m sure it’s all just rotten ice.

May 27, 2014 1:11 pm

Obviously this is worse than we thought.

May 27, 2014 1:13 pm
May 27, 2014 1:14 pm

I think lake-ice is reaching a tipping-point, and by 2025 the lakes will be completely ice covered all year round. And I can prove it. Just make a straight line extrapolation from years 2012 and 2013, and you will see I am right – complete ice cover all year by 2025.

May 27, 2014 1:16 pm

As we all should know, an ice age is not inconsistent with CAGW!!!!!!!!

May 27, 2014 1:18 pm

new headlines:
Polar Bears Starving and Drowning in Lake Superior!
It’s true that polar bears are not seen in or around the Great Lakes, but that is only because they all starve and/or drown before anyone can find them. [Starving] nearly extinct wolves eat the carcasses before any human notices….. All due to Global Warming, er, Climate Change.

May 27, 2014 1:19 pm

umm “Starving nearly extinct wolves”….

Wayne Butler
May 27, 2014 1:20 pm

How long until we hear the claim that the melting of all that ice causes the Great Lakes to overflow. …

Mark Bofill
May 27, 2014 1:24 pm

It’s the anti-hot spot. It’s stuck over Lake Superior. More proof, as if any were necessary, that AGW theory is correct.

May 27, 2014 1:27 pm

Breaking News:
Ice on Lake Superior is now collapsing at the fastest melt-rate ever recorded in the month of May for over 30 years.

May 27, 2014 1:28 pm

Just for balance (and sanity check), here in Japan, we’ve had a mild winter followed by a rather warm early spring.

Box of Rocks
May 27, 2014 1:29 pm

And it snowed over the weekend at Philmont.

Lil Fella from OZ
May 27, 2014 1:31 pm

Oh, no, not ice!

May 27, 2014 1:34 pm

Cheshirered –
What a hoot !
Breaking News:
Ice on Lake Superior is now collapsing at the fastest melt-rate ever recorded in the month of May for over 30 years.
In deed, that’s how they would spin the news.

May 27, 2014 1:38 pm

comment image
No starving extinct wolves, starving extinct polar bears, starving extinct wolverines, or should-be-extinct Ohio State trees need worry. There is plenty of food available on the shores and beaches near our far northern ice-covered seas

May 27, 2014 1:46 pm

All that’s needed is a Southern off-shore wind for a day and all that ice you see will be blown over the horizon and you won’t see it, it’ll still be on Lake Superior waters, it just won’t be visible. Out of sight out of mind.
That’s what happened two weeks ago in Lake Huron where ice blocks with a footprint of a house and two feet thick were blown out of our bay and into the open water. The Coast Guard wasn’t fooled and wouldn’t let 7 bulk carriers leave Port Huron because that free floating ice can still damage a hull, propeller or steering mechanism.

May 27, 2014 1:49 pm

Haven’t you guys heard that the cold winter is caused by global warming. In fact the colder it gets in the winter it’s actually getting warmer and warmer. Wise up!

Mike Maguire
May 27, 2014 1:56 pm

I actually went swimming in Lake Superior at Marquette on Memorial day in 1975. I was living in Detroit around 450 miles south at the time but was visiting a friend.
Jumped in off of a dock with my clothes on to impress everybody.
Amazing how stupid some 19 year old males will act after consuming a large amount of alcohol.
I used to joke about helping to play a role in the decision that resulted in Michigan being the first state to raise the drinking age back up to 21 in 1978 (:
Michigan drinking age:
“Lowered to 18 in 1972 (Jan 1)
(w/ age of majority)[36]”
“Raised to 21 in 1978 (Dec 21),
18 days later.[4]
First state to raise age to 21
since it was lowered”

Adam from Kansas
May 27, 2014 1:57 pm

On that same website, it was announced that Piers Corbyn made a claim that we are already in a new Mini Ice Age period.
Apparently it takes time to really get going, the rest of May here and early June will pretty much be 80’s to low 90’s and lows in the 60’s (perfect for our vegetable garden though).
There’s some useful information there, but it seems like his technique at times for combating alarmism about heatwaves is to do the same thing with cold events (take their spin and trade heat for cold).

Jean Parisot
May 27, 2014 2:09 pm

Look at all of that water, a polar bear could drown out there!

May 27, 2014 2:11 pm

quote=Chad Wozniak says:
May 27, 2014 at 12:55 pm
. . . and anyone can STILL believe in global warming?!?!!?
Warmest winter ever (per Huff Post) in Chicago?!?!!??
Wait just a doggone second! I live in the Chicago area (Western ‘Burbs) and I can tell you straight that it wasn’t “the warmest winter ever”. Not by a long shot. We had plenty of snow and cold, below zero more days than I care to count. Good thing my rusty Chevy started, but— warmest ever?? What’s HuffPo been smoking and where can we get some?

May 27, 2014 2:17 pm

But it’s all first-year ice and easily melted… It won’t be there next year.
Maybe instead of measuring Arctic Ice Extent, we could look at just how the Great Lakes ice goes year to year … oh, wait! That might be “just weather” and also all [Anthropogenic] Global Warming/[Man-Made] Climate Change is “real” and “proven” [by X-box sicence].

May 27, 2014 2:24 pm

Lets not forget the lake levels – especially Lake Huron – they were ‘never to recover’ – 18 months ago. Now all are above long term averages, except Huron, which is quickly gaining…
Alarmist story from 10 months ago!
7 March 2014 Science (oops!)

DD More
May 27, 2014 2:25 pm

“As you can see above, it was hot enough to lay out a beach towel and work on your tan (or perhaps simply start one) in Marquette, Michigan, on Sunday, May 25.
Swimming, not so much. I’m sure the lifeguard in the photo above was praying he wouldn’t have to rescue anyone crazy enough to swim in that dangerously cold water.
Among those at the beach over Memorial Day weekend was Weather Underground’s director of meteorology, Dr. Jeff Masters.
“Near-shore temperatures were only around 55 degrees in the afternoon, compared to temperatures near 80 degrees in the Hurricane River Campground,” said Masters in an email describing his visit to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore near Munising, Michigan. “Truly an exceptional weekend, as it was in the 80s with no bugs!”
When living in Marquette, 50 degree temps in the spring would be high enough for many to start wearing shorts.

David L.
May 27, 2014 2:46 pm

It’s just weather. Wait till the missing heat returns! It’s just a stair step away!
Or wait, is this evidence of climate change? It’s unprecedented and we’re all doomed! But the ice is not really good enough to support the polar bears. They are doomed too!

Farmer Gez
May 27, 2014 2:47 pm

Don’t worry folks, Thermageddon is in full swing here in Australia with a record warm Autumn and the promise of an El Niño. Our climate catastrophists are limbering up for media marathon.

May 27, 2014 3:02 pm

Picture must have been “Photo Shopped” and there is no snow on the ground…… see…. /sarc

May 27, 2014 3:25 pm

But almost 97% of the ice has melted & that proves the climate has changed, we’ve past a tipping point so when the rest melts there be a catastrophic no change in water levels causing millions not to drown or become climate refugees, the prospect is too frightening to contemplate.

Mac the Knife
May 27, 2014 3:58 pm

As of last week, the cherry orchards in Door County Wisconsin were not close to blooming yet. For comparison, in 2012, the same area was in full bloom on May 9th. Door County is the Wisconsin peninsula that extends north into Lake Michigan, with Green Bay to the west and Lake Michigan to the east. This is the 4th largest cherry producing area in the US. This years crop is projected to be only ‘fair’ as the fruiting buds on many trees were damage during the persistent -20F winter temps.

R. Shearer
May 27, 2014 4:30 pm

Glad there is a lifeguard on duty.

Rud Istvan
May 27, 2014 4:48 pm

All photoshopped. Must have been, even back then. Otherwise NOOOOO!!! Way.
Send these pics to the Goracle. He must have a polar bear related explanation. With all his oil money, he might even be able to invent one. Or photoshop more pics.

Dave the Engineer
May 27, 2014 4:51 pm

The Cultists will be blind and deaf to the facts. Perhaps a cold dunking will bring them around. A modern “baptism” into the Church of Reality.

Luke Warmist
May 27, 2014 4:55 pm

Well, today in Phoenix it’s 106F, which means it’s climate. Those of you with ice, that’s simply weather.

May 27, 2014 5:13 pm

Who needs a cooler. Just throw your beer in a net and dunk it in the lake.

May 27, 2014 5:16 pm

Abbie Tireman’s photo is dated 1 June 1996. Will there be as much ice in 4 days time? We will have to wait and see. The point is that the ice is still there at the end of May is remarkable. Not long ago they complained about Great Lakes ice decline due to global warming. Now we are told that the cold winter blast and freezing is also caused by ‘climate change’ / and / or / global warming / distruptions.

Plato's Cave
May 27, 2014 5:16 pm

See? That just proves something’s going on. Now, where’s my carbon tax?

May 27, 2014 5:35 pm

Lake Superior normally has counter-clockwise gyre east of the Keweenaw peninsula and I think that this gyre (west to east shoreline flow) along with the north wind lake breeze, tends to pile up the ice on the south shore from Marquette to Munising. A lot of reports are describing this ice as simply a few random chunks of nuisance ice that will be gone by early June, I took a rowboat out to the ice pack a few days ago to collect some beer ice and many were more like SUV-sized chunks of ice that will be lucky to be gone by end of June. This ice is serious stuff! I have a cabin there and fished that area for 45 years and have never seen anything like this on Memorial Day. I would not be surprised if there are icebergs in that pack that go down 40 feet.

May 27, 2014 6:07 pm

@ Brute
“Just for balance (and sanity check), ”
Sanity? We’re discussing climate change here.

May 27, 2014 6:15 pm

Copyrite ~ Bob Tisdale 2013 🙂

Incandescent Truth
May 27, 2014 6:16 pm

Everyone knows, it’s the Warming that CAUSES the Cooling! Basic science people… Go ahead, prove it to yourself. Put a pot of water on the stove, turn burner on low heat and come back in a few hours – The solid block of ice that awaits you is all the proof you need!

May 27, 2014 6:17 pm

As Farmer Gez pointed out, we’ve had the opposite end of the stick here in Australia. Here in Melbourne we’ve just finished an ‘unprecedented’ streak of May days above 20C. So far noone is complaining, unsurprisingly.
People are intuitively waiting for a harsh blast of cold winter to kick in, even if that’s not necessarily how it works. Despite the usual media outlets still harping on about Climate Change and carbon emissions, i think the general public is massively apathetic these days. They probably still bark out the expected lines to remain socially included, but it is no longer held as heresy (at least among my usual associates), to declare doubt in ‘The Science’ (TM).

May 27, 2014 6:24 pm

People around the Great Lakes are probably aware of the large shoreline ice banks that form over the winter. These banks are formed when waves splash up and freeze, building ice with each spray, but these banks are filled with sand and debris and usually melt very quickly once the sun starts beating on them. One unique feature Lake Superior had this year between Marquette and Munising was an extremely large “ice bank” a couple miles offshore. I’m not sure if anyone explored this bank. I can imagine the large open water waves and extreme cold could have made this bank a source of huge, CLEAR icebergs that will not melt as quickly as the usual icebergs normally seen.

Poote Genous
May 27, 2014 6:26 pm

Global warming is real, Obama said so and it is therefore Amerikas official policy and for you to say that there is still ice on Lake Superior makes you a raciest.

May 27, 2014 6:31 pm

It may have been 4.3% on the 27th, but the NOAA link for the 28th says 3.4%.

Steve Garcia
May 27, 2014 6:37 pm

It may not mean anything, but in 1971 on the 1st of June on Crystal Lake north of Harrison, Maine there was still ice on the lake there. I saw it myself (my one year there) and thought that the climate in Maine sure was different than in the Midwest where I came from.
As a general picture of the trend in the climate, this kind of thing suggests that we are in a similar climate phase as back in the early 1970s. (It is NOT anecdotal, because it is in the weather records there.) After that we entered into a warmer phase for a while, and now we are in a cooler phase. However much some people want to think that climate is totally random from year to year, and that any trends are some kind of human screw ups, that thinking is WRONG, because the fact that we are BACK in the cooler phase (and we certainly are in the US and northern Europe) means that whatever was causing the warmer phase has failed to make a permanent impact. If it DID make a difference, then we could not be back in the cooler phase.
Of course, all of this reflects on the PDO, which is a HUGE influence, and which wasn’t even known about for 9 years after Hansen screamed “The Sky Is Falling” before Congress. Since he couldn’t have known about the PDO and its warm and cool regimes (phases), obviously Hansen did not have the whole story, yet he claimed to be able to predict the future, saying that the climate was inexorably warming. That the climate DID warm up in the 1990s, thus, made his lucky guess look like he knew what he was talking about.
But he didn’t.
So his prediction was a lucky guess.
His precocity was an ILLUSION. The climate was not inexorably warming.

Steve Garcia
May 27, 2014 6:40 pm

@Glenn at 6:31 pm:
“It may have been 4.3% on the 27th, but the NOAA link for the 28th says 3.4%.”
Well, 85° temps just might do that. Between air temps heating by conductivity and radiant heat energy directly entering the open water between the ice floes, a lot of heat energy was going into the lake water.

May 27, 2014 6:45 pm

Luke Warmist says:
May 27, 2014 at 4:55 pm
“Well, today in Phoenix it’s 106F, which means it’s climate. Those of you with ice, that’s simply weather.”
That depended on where you were “in Phoenix”. I read only 102 today. Of course that isn’t
an “official” reading, though.
“Arizona’s urban areas could see summer temperatures rise between 2 and 7 degrees during the next few decades because of the heat island effect, according to a recent study by the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning and the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences”

May 27, 2014 7:52 pm

Bushy says:
May 27, 2014 at 6:17 pm
My experience also Bushy, combination of stalled weather, trapped urban heat at temperature measuring sites, plus warmth drift from the tropical North and of course, the “abnormal” heat generated in the media by the usual suspects praying for a hook to hang warming on,
Hence the Australian B.O.M. concentration on so called record periods, that are confined of course to convenient periods in time where the auto homogenization of recent and past temperature data, can be twisted (tortured??) to suit the meme. Shush just don’t mention satellite data, just adjust to hide the divergence.
Its an agony to see their desperation to hold the line.
I have “nick” named this as “Nickstokian anguish media syndrome” in anticipation of a Lewandowski inspired psychological media Cookup when winter finally sets in and the Carbon fuelled energy taxes bite and the fire needs media stoking!

May 27, 2014 8:40 pm

Scott@ 5:35: Beer ice?

Tanya Aardman
May 27, 2014 9:23 pm

Same as it ever was

Mike Bromley the Kurd
May 27, 2014 10:53 pm

Gitche Gumee is such a party-pooper.

May 27, 2014 11:38 pm

Oh you silly people he’s not a lifeguard he’s an iceguard, after all you’ve got to protect all that ice from the nasty global warming…

John M. Ware
May 28, 2014 2:02 am

We lived in Superior WI from 1971 to 1975, where we experienced some cold winters. The year we arrived, the ice did not leave Duluth-Superior harbor until June 10, which at the time I understood was the latest on record. Our moving day was in early June, and I remember driving across the south range of hills a few miles from the lake and seeing no blue–just white. It was a warm day in Superior, about 82 degrees with a slight south breeze, and as we drove into town, we saw people outside working in short sleeves or even shirtless. We got to the DMV and saw shirtless workmen across the street on a construction project; they were getting quite sweaty in the hot sun. We were maybe an hour in the DMV getting Wisconsin licenses. When we came out, it was still sunny, but there was a strong wind off the lake, and the air temperature had dropped to about 40 degrees! The cursing from the workmen was most vehement. A wind change at that time of year can lower the air temp by 30 or 40 degrees in a minute.
Our son was born in 1973 in Superior. In the winter we took him out on the lake, which had frozen over a few feet thick. The ice was not smooth and flat; it was hilly, with sharp projections, as though wave action had broken up the floes and thrown the resulting chunks of ice onshore. As I walked on the floe, my 9-months-old son on my shoulder, I could feel the ice floe riding gently up and down with the wave motion underneath. I did not go far out on the floe, in spite of its obvious solidity as far as I could see; it just seemed risky. Nonetheless, an amazing experience.
Some day, I’ll write about the Spring Break blizzard . . .

May 28, 2014 3:16 am

The comment thread here reads like a comment thread at

Cold in Wisconsin
May 28, 2014 5:31 am

The land adjacent to the Great Lakes can’t really warm up until after the ice is all gone. Even then the Lakes are a big modulator of temperature, as the temperature of the Lakes (speaking of Michigan and Superior from my experience) never get much above 60 degrees F. The beach is a fun place but you can’t spend much time in the water–a quick dip when you get hot, but don’t stay in the water unless you want hypothermia. Boaters can die of hypothermia in the middle of winter in a boating accident if they are not rescued fairly quickly. Every summer weather forecast is punctuated with the phrase “cooler near the lake” which us typically a 5-10 degree cooling depending on the direction of the wind. And during winter this flips to “warmer near the lake” until it completely freezes over. We lived about a mile from Lake Michigan and most homes in our neighborhood did not have air conditioning until the hotter summers of the 1980’s and 1990’s because it wasn’t worth it for the two or three weeks that it got really hot. Looking forward to another gorgeous summer here again. The Great Lakes were THE summer vacation destination in the US before air conditioning because of the beautiful tempering effect of the Lakes during the summer.

May 28, 2014 7:18 am

I’m on my way to the UP on Sunday and looking forward to all the usual activities on Lake Superior. I grew up there and one lasting impression is that Winter is never over. Still winter in the high country of Colorado. Ski Colorado on Memorial Day at A-Basin.

Non Nomen
May 28, 2014 8:00 am

What An Inconvenient Truth!

May 28, 2014 9:50 am

40’s here (central maine) today. but no ice at least 🙂

Doug Proctor
May 28, 2014 10:40 am

Too much moisture from warmed waters (from CO2-retained heat) caused too much snow to fall on “normal” ice and so retarded normal melting of the underlying ice.
It is all explainable if you allow the complexity of explanation infinite growth.

May 28, 2014 1:00 pm

If it was January and Superior was ice-free, would it be headline news in major papers and news shows? You betcha it would!

May 28, 2014 2:23 pm

The ice coverage in the visible part of the lake looks rather more than 4.3% I guess its bunched against the sides of the lake?

James at 48
May 28, 2014 6:30 pm

Gnarly, dude!

Gunga Din
May 28, 2014 9:23 pm

No problem for GAGWer’s to explain.
The heat missing from Lake Superior snuck into the ocean and is hiding there.

May 28, 2014 10:48 pm

When all this ice melts, Chicago will flood…

IGotBupkis, "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses."
May 29, 2014 3:33 am

PaulH says:
May 27, 2014 at 1:11 pm
I wouldn’t worry about this, because I’m sure it’s all just rotten ice.
That anything like “sour grapes” (AGW™ Brand, of course)?

John from Oz
May 29, 2014 3:43 am

The CAGWer’s won’t know anything about it. They’ve headed Down Under to enjoy, oops I mean complain about, the “unprecedented” winter time heat wave in Queensland. Long may it last but it is due to global cooling not global warming. Less solar energy in the atmosphere means less movement of air masses, which means the temperatures will remain constant for days and even weeks. It has happened quite a few times in the last couple of years, both summer and winter.

May 29, 2014 4:52 am

Seems like it is not only Polar bears suffering because of the ice in Lake Superior.

Gareth Phillips
May 29, 2014 5:58 am

And in the UK? Above average temperatures all through winter, horrendous storms one after the other and serious flooding. Now when temps are below average over much of the hemisphere I will sit up and take notice.

May 29, 2014 7:44 am

Time to start a “Ice Age Returns !” alarmist campaign as a counter- irritant to the Global Warmers

Gunga Din
May 29, 2014 11:12 am
Chris R.
May 29, 2014 2:33 pm

There is an under-appreciated and little-commented on facet of AGW.
Underwater farting by humans.
The increase of people bathing in the ocean, lakes, etc., has led to many
incidents of the dread underwater farting. The methane (CH4) in the flatulence
discharge from humans is instantly absorbed into the surrounding water.
Unfortunately, this leads to a displacement of CO2 dissolved in the water,
and the CO2 is released into the air, causing the enhancement of the greenhouse
Thus, humans bathing in bodies of water must be immediately banned, or
else we’re all doomed.

IGotBupkis, "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses."
May 29, 2014 4:10 pm

Incandescent Truth says:
May 27, 2014 at 6:16 pm
Everyone knows, it’s the Warming that CAUSES the Cooling!
Basic Because… science SCIENCE!! … people…
Your last sentence had some typos. Fixed. Glad ter help….

IGotBupkis, "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses."
May 29, 2014 4:12 pm

>>> Time to start a “Ice Age Returns !” alarmist campaign as a counter- irritant to the Global Warmers
They already did that in the 1970s….

IGotBupkis, "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses."
May 29, 2014 4:14 pm

>>> Seems like it is not only Polar bears suffering because of the ice in Lake Superior.
Gives new meaning to “freezing your butt off”, for sure.

doctor rob
June 3, 2014 10:06 pm

97% of the ice agreed that it should melt

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