Great Lakes Ice Coverage In Striking Distance of a Record

Guest Post By Just The Facts

After Micheal Mann and Kevin Trenberth helpfully attributed the recent record snowfall in Boston to global warming, we now have another undeniable indication of alarming extreme runaway global warming. After last year’s 2nd highest maximum in Great Lakes Ice Coverage;

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

Great Lakes Ice Coverage stands at 82.8%, within striking distance of the record high of 94.7%:

Waether Underground – Click the pic to view full size image

As was seen in the groundbreaking 1991 paper, “IMPLICATIONS OF CO, GLOBAL WARMING ON GREAT LAKES ICE COVER“, by Assel;

“Statistical ice cover models were used to project daily mean basin ice cover and annual ice cover duration for Lakes Superior and Erie. Models were

applied to a 1951-80 base period and to three 30-year steady double carbon dioxide (2 X CO,) scenarios produced by the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS), and the OregonState University (OSU) general circulation models.”

“Under the three projected 2 X CO, greenhouse warming scenarios ice cover duration is shorter, ice covers are less extensive, and the frequency of winters without ice cover is greater for Lake Erie than for Lake Superior. Under an average 2 X CO, scenario, ice cover is likely to be limited to the shore area and shallows of both lakes.

“The results of our study indicate that the navigation season could be extended to 10 or even 12 months under a 2 x CO, climatic warming. Thus a considerable cost

saving may be associated with reduced Coast Guard and hydropower authority activity and economic benefits may result from increased shipping activity in the winter months. However, the greatly reduced extent and duration of ice cover would likely result in higher evaporation from the Great Lakes and lower lake levels (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 1989). Crowe (1985) indicates that above-freezing air temperature in southern Ontario, Canada will produce less snow cover and a shorter snow cover season. There is a considerable amount of winter recreational activity on ice-covered bays and harbors of the Great Lakes – ice boating, ice fishing, snowmobile racing. Much if not all of this activity would be curtailed or discontinued completely with reduced ice and snow cover. “

Currently, Lake Superior is at 93.42% Ice Cover;

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

and Lake Erie at 95.72%;

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

hopefully these ice cover conditions haven’t “curtailed or discontinued completely” activities like “ice boating, ice fishing, snowmobile racing” due to “reduced ice and snow cover”… Lake Huron is also close to its maximum at over 95.52% Ice Cover;

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

thus a run on the record will necessitate significant ice growth on Lake Ontario and Lake Michigan. Lake Ontario Ice Cover reached 82.60% last week;

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

which was its third highest maximum on record;

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

and interesting as “Lake Ontario generally have the least ice cover of all the Great Lakes”, “Lake Ontario’s extreme depth (86 m average; 244 m maximum) translates to tremendous heat storage capacity. It also has a smaller surface area for heat loss. In addition, cold air outbreaks from the northwest and west are moderated by the waters of Lakes Superior, Michigan, and Huron. These factors combine to keep ice cover on Lake Ontario at a relatively low level most years.” GLERL

Lake Ontario Ice Concentration dropped to 55.8% in the last few days;

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

apparently primarily due to wind moving ice South and East:

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

However, the 10 day forecast for Ontario is quite chilly;

Waether Underground – Click the pic to view full size image

so there will likely be additional Lake Ontario Ice growth in the coming days. Lastly, and most importantly, Lake Michigan Ice Cover is currently 53.68%;

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

compared to a maximum of  93.29% last year;

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

so  there will need to be be significant growth in Lake Michigan Ice Cover for there to be a record in Great Lakes Ice Cover. So what do the next two weeks hold for Lake Michigan? Here’s the 10 day forecast for Chicago:

Waether Underground – Click the pic to view full size image

Whether maximum Great Lakes Ice Coverage sets a record or not, expect some desperate warmists to dust off, or more appropriately brush off, the thoroughly discredited drunken jet stream hypothesis, whereby global warming makes it colder. Last year, Kevin Trenberth, was one of 5 climate scientists who wrote about the drunken jet stream hypothesis in a letter published in Science Magazine stating that “It’s an interesting idea, but alternative observational analyses and simulations with climate models have not confirmed the hypothesis, and we do not view the theoretical arguments underlying it as compelling”. Given another freezing and snowy winter we look forward to seeing more inane hypotheses about how global warming makes it colder and results in massive snowfalls, and whether Kevin Ternberth supports them or refutes them…

If you would like to keep an eye on Great Lakes Ice you can do so on the WUWT Great Lakes Ice Reference Page.

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153 thoughts on “Great Lakes Ice Coverage In Striking Distance of a Record

  1. Yeah, I couldn’t believe that one where they claimed that the warmest year ever was last year, except it was record cold over only the Great Lakes. Okay, so two years in a row a record cold spot just happens to appear over the Great Lakes while the rest of the planet is record hot?! These people lie. They lie. There is nothing else to call it. Hey, check out this crazy headline: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/news/display_cmsstory.php?wfo=mkx&storyid=106902&source=0 This is a perfect example of why NWS observation sites must be scrutinized, thoroughly scrutinized. And, their funding should be challenged.

      • Barry,
        The RRR will be backing up(retrograding) into the Pacific the next 2 weeks with a big pattern change.
        http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/images/ens/z500anom_nh_alltimes.html
        This will allow an upper level trough to dominate from the west to middle of the US as an upper level ridge builds in the southeast. This means a lot of precip for many areas of the country.
        Not sure on how much will fall in the far West/severe drought areas but at least with the big upper level ridge farther west, the pattern will be more favorable for precip than it has been recently.

      • Was there an election or something where 1979-2000 was elected as the “norm” to measure anomalies from?
        Geesh, that makes me angry, I wanted to put in a write in vote for 279-300.

    • I live in New York State. It is the most corrupt state in the country by a long shot, under the control of King Cuomo and his mob. They are bent on covering rural New York State with USELESS industrial wind factories and solar arrays – obviously not because they work, but because they are in bed with Big Green, and intent on pocketing their share of the take – taxpayers & ratepayers be damned. Don’t count on getting an ounce of honest information out of New York State. By the way, more record cold is predicted this week here in western New York State.

      • Periodically like this afternoon, it gets slightly above freezing which allows me to do many things like move tons of cement-hard snow, the snow banks are so high, they are way over my head now.
        Tonight it will go back to below zero and the snow banks will harden further which makes them very slow to melt in spring. This has been one of the harshest winters, ever and I lived through the harsh 1970’s winters!

      • Mary Kay I offer California as a contender for most corrupt. After decades of progressives and their regressive policies, Jerry Browns multi billion high speed train to no where, and the ridiculous regulations favoring green industry over ones that actually can exist without subsidies, I am very tempted to leave and allow these criminal politicians to build up their voting pool of illegal criminal aliens and let others pay for it.

      • latecommer2014
        February 23, 2015 at 9:42 am
        WRT: “Mary Kay I offer California as a contender for most corrupt. After decades of progressives and their regressive policies, Jerry Browns multi billion high speed train to no where, and the ridiculous regulations favoring green industry over ones that actually can exist without subsidies..”
        I haven’t figured out what to make of unionized dockworkers making $142 k / yr. plus benefits and retirement at 80k? And going on strike?
        “Contender” indeed.
        http://www.breitbart.com/california/2015/02/06/longshoremans-union-to-strike-29-west-coast-ports/

    • Actually it will be 3 years of above average ice cover at the end of the season and two years above average for total accumulated ice. The maximum ice extent on average is around March 12, so we have 3 weeks to go to see if we can beat last years record. Note that this year has been higher than last year for a bit over a week now.
      This is a good page to see this year vs last year for all the lakes, and you can click on individual lakes on top to see the individual comparisons, including temperatures at depth. Interestingly the only lake warmer this year than last year at this time, is Lake Superior.
      http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/res/glcfs/compare_years/

    • Well Western Europe certainly isn’t record cold either this year or last year (when in fact we barely had a winter frost in SE England). The snow levels in Swtizerland (see http://www.slf.ch for appropriate visual images) have been at or below average for almost all of the winter.
      I suspect that there is an inverse correlation between Great Lakes winters and those in NW Europe, however analysis of data is probably necessary to determine whether the correlation is sufficiently striking to make it worth designating it as a formal teleconnection……

      • rtj1211: I don’t know what you are talking about re English temperatures. Last winter was definitely unfrosty, but this winter there have been 23 air frosts averaged in the Central England Temperature area, not including several more in February not so far recorded at http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcet/cetmindly1878on_urbadj4.dat. And in Gloucestershire I have had snow on my lawn in the valley on 3 occasions. So it’s not been uber-cold, but it’s not been mild either.
        Rich.

  2. The ice age cometh….

    The disaster the future might bring. ….
    Energy crises beyond anything we could imagine
    Icy winds would sweep the Kansas wheatfields
    Colorado’s summer grazing lands would resemble the tundra
    Food production would plummet
    In California glaciers would advance….
    This could occur within a single lifetime.
    When the weather turns on you, how thin is the margin between life and death
    Fuel shortages

    • In short, we need every power plant we have but tell that to these stupid people at the EPA and the White House….

    • The late Dr. Stephen Schneider, global warming warmist, is here talking about another ice age at the end of the video. Obviously he goes where the wind blows – er grants go.

  3. Lake Michigan ice depends on two things. In addition to temperature, wind. Water gets pushed toward Michigan, causing considerable overturning that hinders midlake ice formation. Still conditions at current temperatures would cause rapid ice coverage expansion, which in turn lessens wind influence on the remaining open water…

    • Rud
      I had forgotten how high the Lake Michigan ice cover was last year and significantly higher than now. It has been below 0 several days recently and more of the same this week.
      I know there are differences from the other lakes, but that was true last year.
      I understand your point about wind etc, but the large difference from the other lakes still baffles me, given how incredibly cold it has been.

  4. The great lakes are shrinking as they recede from the shorelines bordering Canada and the United States. It is a matter of great concern to both countries and the inhabitants who depend on the water levels for recreational purposes. The lakes are getting shallower: ships are running aground and having to lighten their cargo loads: dredging is the ad hoc fix. This anomaly is not yet detected because of he media hype that levels are rising. The Hudson Bay is getting shallower as reported by the elders who have inhabited the region for generations. Yet the government agents keep telling them he sea is rising. So it is quite likely that the decreasing levels and shallower lakes induces the freezing.

  5. We will see if the 2015 Great Lakes ice maximum can exceed an all time record. But it seems highly likely that it will exceed 90%. This will make it two years in a row that ice coverage has exceeded 90%. How often has this happened in the past?

    • See the first graph in this post. Of course, this is for a limited period of time. I’m sure the lakes have frozen over before, but who wanted to walk out there to check? Superior is a very big lake! 😉

    • You guys are getting caught up in AGW terms. All time record? Maybe 40 year record. All time is 100% plus a couple of miles of thickness; from which we are still warming. 40 years = weather. 4,000 years = climate.

  6. “As an incipient glacier was forming in North America, the One World Government had claimed the world had its warmest year ever, by .01 degree, and people should prepare for the disastrous consequences of said warming … ” /sarc (Seems like a good Orwellian sci fi novel).

      • These garrulous SF writers give evil politicians ideas…
        I seriously suspect that R. A. Heinlein’s “Moon is a Harsh Mistress” stopped Moon exploration in its tracks. Politicians soil their pants when they think about any people getting out of their control zone. Think about it. On their own, people could discover all those wonderful gizmos that give you free energy, gizmos that spend so much energy to suppress!

  7. “After Micheal Mann and Kevin Trenberth helpfully attributed the recent record snowfall in Boston to global warming”
    What else do pretend Nobel Laureates do? Certainly not real science!

  8. ACTUAL EMAIL SENT THIS PAST WEEK:
    An actual email from the “Are you now, or have you ever been a member of any anti-science organization?” department and Barack Obama’s “Organizing for Action” front.
    An actual email from the “Are you now, or have you ever been a member of any anti-science organization?” department and Barack Obama’s “Organizing for Action” front.
    Organizing for Action
    Friend —
    It’s tough out there for climate change deniers.
    One by one, literally every argument and excuse they’ve been using for years is being proven false.
    They’re still grasping at myths and conspiracy theories, but deniers are on the run.
    Let’s keep them there — join the team that’s calling out climate change deniers.
    In reality, the debate on the basics is over.
    Not only do 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate change is real and man-made, but new reports are showing climate and extreme weather impacts are affecting us right now.
    Droughts, floods, wildfires, and storms are hitting communities from California to the East Coast, and we’re already spending hundreds of billions on climate-related disaster relief — no one is denying that.
    Instead, what you hear from climate change deniers are mostly excuses for not taking action. Some have hidden behind foreign countries, saying America can’t or shouldn’t lead on climate until someone else goes first.
    Let’s set aside for a minute that this isn’t actually how we solve global problems. The fact is, President Obama is leading internationally through agreements with China and India to cut carbon pollution and expand the use of clean energy. (So there goes that denier talking point…)
    Another thing you might hear from a denier is that we simply can’t get serious about cutting carbon pollution without destroying the economy. That’s just false. For example, the climate and public health benefits from President Obama’s Clean Power Plan outweigh the costs by at least six times.
    Maybe deniers doubt we have the will and ingenuity to take such a huge problem on. Well, the American people are proving them wrong: Since 2009, we’ve increased solar power ten-fold and tripled wind power. Hundreds of thousands of Americans work in clean energy today.
    The arguments from deniers are getting more and more ludicrous.
    We have the facts on our side — and we have to drive that message home. Because as long as deniers and polluters are blocking progress, we’re not doing all we can to combat climate change.
    Say you’ll help take them to task — join the team that’s calling out climate change deniers:
    http://my.barackobama.com/Expose-Climate-Change-Deniers
    Thanks,
    Ivan
    Ivan Frishberg
    Senior Climate Advisor
    Organizing for Action

    • ….. 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate change is real and man-made….
      Reminds me of a Stan Freberg ad where the announcer intones, “Nine out of 10 doctors recommend Chung King chow mein” and the camera pans over 10 guys in white coats and stethoscopes, 9 of whom are chinese and one occidental.

  9. JTF
    The extent of the ice coverage, particularly if a record, is important, but also is the annual number of days all lakes are ice-free (or vice versa). Are data available?

  10. Not necessarily off topic since I’m on the west Coast. Got a friend up in Salem, Oregon showed me some pictures of Cherry trees already in full blossom mode. How long til global warming screamers start spouting global warming in spite of the Great Lakes freezing over in record time?

    • Pray that the ridge over the coast remains stubbornly in place or else a cold snap will wipe out all the apples, cherries, and other produce that are susceptible to freezing at this critical time in fruit development.

      • Something like that wiped out apples and cherries in Michigan a few years ago. Abnormal warm March, then BAM April frosts. Only thing we plant in Wisconsin before May 1 is corn, conditions depending. Putting out vegetables before mid May is just asking for it.

      • I had some volunteer potatoes poking their heads up through the straw last week. There was a drop in temps last night that killed them. Tonight is going to be colder, and then stay like that for 5 or 6 days. I am in No California, so I would think that Oregon and further north would be colder than here.

  11. I always loved the winters in Manitoba. The colder the better. Had to have the right gear for the cold, but my snowmobile ran like a rocket when it was -30C or colder. No feeling quite like doing 110mph-ish on a snowmobile on a frozen lake.
    My sled was an older one (mid-eighties). Modern snowmobiles go a darn site faster, with better suspension, tracks, etc..

    • I used to trailer my Yamaha SRX 700 triple-triple into the northwoods of Wisconsin from Chicago.
      It is hard to look down at the speedo at full throttle, but I think I saw ~117 MPH.
      Old age, slowed reactions, and failing eyesight convinced me to sell the beast.

      • I have an acquaintance who once spent a day simulating an Exocet missile on a frozen lake using the fastest snowmobile they could get their hands on (they were experimenting with a radar system for ships). The engineers showed up at the site and then realized they needed someone who could handle a snowmobile at well over 100mph — he was the lucky volunteer.

      • Thank you for the responses, gentlemen!
        u.k., perhaps you came to your senses!! Skiing is about as risky as I get these days, and even doing that one can quickly find oneself in trouble!!
        I lost a dear friend to a snowmobile accident two winters ago. He left a beautiful family behind. Off road vehicles in general are hella dangerous. I urge caution at all times to those reading this. Examine the trail with a fine tooth comb before attempting speed. If you are on open lake or a snowmobile trail, you are a long way from help. Think it through.
        Glad I took the risks, but it was calculated.
        Just one of the few moments of television that I have found to possess any depth regarding risk;

      • I didn’t come to my senses, I just got old 🙂
        The stories I could tell about snowmobiling in my 20’s…….
        But yep, the trees haven’t gotten any softer, nor will they.

    • David…it was -33C in Winnipeg last night, well below the seasonal normal of -16. A bit of a breeze took the wind chill down to -45C. 3 of the last 4 nights have been colder than -30C, and overnight lows in the mid -20’s are expected for 4 of the next 5 days.

  12. In other words, “We’ve predicted everything so do what we say or something we predicted will come true!”

    • climate science as practiced in ivory towers. doesn’t matter if it get colder or warmer, wetter or drier, more or less snow, it all fits with what you predicted.
      no doubt CO2 will make the stock market go up and down in the future. we will see more extreme markets in the future. If we watch the market long enough we will see it reach new heights never seen before, thus proving that CO2 is driving the market. We looked at everything else, and nothing explained it, so it must be CO2.

      • Ferd, the stock markets actually are doing this. “Predictions” of (and the great coverage of “Superstorms”, frozen lakes etc) severe winters drive the energy markets, oil, gas, coal and the price of wood burning stoves including pre-cut, pre wrapped firewood, fluctuate wildly on such speculations. Then add in the increase of air travel for those that are spending their time further south for some extra sun so those airline stocks go up.
        (And as we all know the use of those commodities cause an increase of CO2. sarc off).

    • Toneb -Just curious, why did you choose 1951 -1980 as your base comparison period? I see that period is the default period for this fine tool (thank you for linking to it), but I would think that there would be many other more appropriate periods to compare the most recent December and January anomalies against. If you compare to a more recent period, say 1980 – 2010 the difference in temperatures between the US East and West Coasts is quite dramatic. A video of the daily maps generated by this tool running sequentially for an entire season or year would be quite interesting. Dan Murphy

      • Dan Murphy,
        If GISS rolls up their dailies into a convenient annual package I have not found it. The NCEP/NCAR reanalysis is available that way, and their default reference period just so happens to be 1981-2010. Here’s the movie for 2014:
        http://youtu.be/7iM7OmS852E

    • December 2014 was a tad warm because of the quasi El Niño at that time, then if that could have been compared to the original temperatures of 1950-1981 instead of the heavily homogenised stuff so loved by GISS etc, the global image would have been a lot bluer.
      I hate temperatures being adjusted/tortured/manipulated solely to support the cause of supposed climate change, they make a complete mockery of real science.
      As for the Great Lakes, the way climate science works today is that what we are seeing today will probably be adjusted away over the next few years. After all, we can’t have any of those inconvenient facts upsetting the general public.

    • Wasn’t that big red blob over Russia found to be an instrument error? That was reported some time ago.
      R

    • So Toneb, what adjustments has GISS / NASA made to the NCDC / NOAA data to get those charts?
      (1) The Climate of 1997 – Annual Global Temperature Index = 16.92°C.
      http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/1997/13
      (2) 2014 annual global land and ocean surfaces temperature = 0.69°C above 13.9°C = 14.59°C
      http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2014/13
      Which number do you think GISS/NASA/NCDC/NOAA thinks is the record high? Failure at 3rd grade math or failure to scrub all the past. (See the ‘Ministry of Truth’ 1984).
      Has anyone seen the headline NCDC/NOAA Reports 2.33°C Temperature Drop Since 1997
      Thanks to Nick at WUWT for the find. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/02/09/warming-stays-on-the-great-shelf/#comment-1856325

  13. There seems to be a peak roughly every 15-20 years. 1977-1979, 1994-1996, 2014-2016? Pity the data don’t go back further in time to check this.
    Also the ice cover graphs do appear to be showing a small gradual downward trend.

    • There is definitely a downward trend over the entire record, however this seems more likely related to local factors than global warming, i.e.:

      “The Great Lakes basin is home to more than one-tenth of the population of the United States and one-quarter of the population of Canada. Some of the world’s largest concentrations of industrial capacity are located in the Great Lakes region. Nearly 25 percent of the total Canadian agricultural production and 7 percent of the American production are located in the basin.”
      “n spite of their large size, the Great Lakes are sensitive to the effects of a wide range of pollutants. The sources of pollution include the runoff of soils and farm chemicals from agricultural lands, the waste from cities, discharges from industrial areas and leachate from disposal sites. The large surface area of the lakes also makes them vulnerable to direct atmospheric pollutants that fall with rain or snow and as dust on the lake surface.
      Outflows from the Great Lakes are relatively small (less than 1 percent per year) in comparison with the total volume of water. Pollutants that enter the lakes – whether by direct discharge along the shores, through tributaries, from land use or from the atmosphere – are retained in the system and become more concentrated with time. Also, pollutants remain in the system because of resuspension (or mixing back into the water) of sediment and cycling through biological food chains.”
      “Lake Michigan, the second largest, is the only Great Lake entirely within the United States. The northern part is in the colder, less developed upper Great Lakes region. It is sparsely populated, except for the Fox River Valley, which drains into Green Bay. This bay has one of the most productive Great Lakes fisheries but receives the wastes from the world’s largest concentration of pulp and paper mills. The more temperate southern basin of Lake Michigan is among the most urbanized areas in the Great Lakes system. It contains the Milwaukee and Chicago metropolitan areas. This region is home to about 8 million people or about one-fifth of the total population of the Great Lakes basin.”
      “Lake Erie is the smallest of the lakes in volume and is exposed to the greatest effects from urbanization and agriculture. Because of the fertile soils surrounding the lake, the area is intensively farmed. The lake receives runoff from the agricultural area of southwestern Ontario and parts of Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. Seventeen metropolitan areas with populations over 50,000 are located within the Lake Erie basin.”
      http://www.epa.gov/greatlakes/atlas/glat-ch1.html

      Here is Population Growth;
      [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="550"] US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Click the pic to view full size image[/caption]
      Employment and Industrial Structure;
      [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="550"] US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Click the pic to view full size image[/caption]
      Roads and Airports, Pipelines, Railroads, Electrical Power Lines and Generating Stations;
      [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="550"] US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Click the pic to view full size image[/caption]
      and Waterborne Commerce:
      [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="550"] US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Click the pic to view full size image[/caption]
      To support Waterborne Commerce there is also a large scale ice breaking operation, i.e.:

      “Sections of the lakes, which hold nearly one-fifth of the freshwater on the world’s surface, harden almost every winter. That freezing keeps the Coast Guard’s fleet of nine icebreakers busy clearing paths for vessels hauling essential cargo such as heating oil, salt and coal. But over the past four decades, the average ice cover has receded 70 percent, scientists say, probably in part because of climate change.”
      “For Coast Guard icebreaker teams, it’s all business. They’ve logged four times more hours this season than the average for the same period in recent years, said Kyle Niemi, spokesman for the agency’s Cleveland district headquarters.
      The 240-foot-long Mackinaw began its duties Dec. 16 – several weeks earlier than usual – and worked nonstop until Feb. 8, when traffic slowed enough to allow a break.”
      “A 35-year Coast Guard veteran who has spent 12 years on the lakes, Davanzo said this winter is the toughest he’s experienced because the ice came so soon and is so thick and widespread, and the weather has been constantly bitter.
      The Mackinaw, commissioned in 2006 to replace an older vessel with the same name, is designed specifically for duty on the Great Lakes. It’s propelled by two “Azipod” thrusters that can spin 360 degrees and fire jets of water at adjacent ice, weakening it. Sometimes the crew will drive the ship’s bow onto an ice sheet to crack it with sheer weight. Or they’ll go backward, chopping up ice with the propeller blades.
      When the going gets tough, there’s the battering-ram option – hurling the reinforced hull directly against walls of ice that can be several feet thick.”
      “The workload typically drops sharply after navigational locks on the St. Marys River, the link between Lakes Superior and Huron, close in mid-January and most large cargo haulers dock for winter. But the ice was so thick this year that a number of freighters were still struggling to complete final deliveries days later. Even now, demand for road salt and heating oil in the Midwest is keeping some icebreakers busy.”
      “If the weather stays like this,” he said, “we could be breaking ice all the way to the middle of May.”
      http://www.aol.com/article/2014/02/14/the-great-lakes-are-almost-completely-covered-with-ice/20830737/

      Last year I wrote an article on “Anthropogenic Influences On Lake Ice Coverage; Ice Breakers, Waste Heat, Dams, etc.?”, and it and the associated thread are informative:
      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/17/anthropogenic-influences-on-lake-ice-coverage-ice-breakers-waste-heat-dams-etc/

      • Good article, good display and selection of graphic images.
        But. I notice that 97% of the displays and graphics IMPLY tremendous damage from the people and industry and technology (pipelines! Oh my!) around the southern Great Lakes. Notice that all of them IMPLY great damage and great harm, don’t they?
        But! None of them confirm nor measure nor compare recent “practice” and actual impact to real or exaggerated past actual “damage” (such as the Cleveland river pollution in the early 1970’s. presence of people does NOT mean “damage” … except in the eyes of our modern political Big Government.

      • RACookPE1978
        But. I notice that 97% of the displays and graphics IMPLY tremendous damage from the people and industry and technology (pipelines! Oh my!) around the southern Great Lakes. Notice that all of them IMPLY great damage and great harm, don’t they?
        Yes, I had to steer clear of the EPA’s THE GREAT LAKES TODAY: CONCERNS chapter as it was so over the top:
        http://www.epa.gov/greatlakes/atlas/glat-ch4.html
        Pathogens and Toxic Contaminants and Eutrophication, oh my…

      • Thanks, lots of info! There has definitely been a lot more activity in the area. It’s a pity that your population graph is not very recent. It now only has a small amount of overlap with the ice coverage data. Also I would be very interested in why the local anthropogenic factors are more likely to contribute to the decrease of ice coverage.

      • Time to move to the North West end of Lake Superior, (it seems like all the Sh.t stays downstream from there). But it is an interesting article. I remember a trip via rail along the shores of Lake Superior in 1971 when railroads still moved people ( with all the trimmings from diner cars and “bubble” tops and sleeping cars etc.), it was a truly stunning trip for a guy from Europe used to holidays that took us 10 kms away from home !, absolutely beautiful. The East West rail road trip should be a mandatory trip for everyone just to see what an amazing continent we live on!

      • Aran
        It’s a pity that your population graph is not very recent. It now only has a small amount of overlap with the ice coverage data.
        I agree, I am not sure why the EPA hasn’t updated the stats since 1990:
        http://www.epa.gov/greatlakes/lakestats.html
        It would probably only take a few hours with the 2000 and 2010 census to do so, but apparently the EPAs resources are too tied up in fear-mongering and maintaining their troublingly disinformative student’s guide to climate change:
        http://www.epa.gov/climatestudents/
        Also I would be very interested in why the local anthropogenic factors are more likely to contribute to the decrease of ice coverage.
        Global Temps have only increased by ~.35 degrees Celsius over the last 35 years;
        [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="578"] University of Alabama – Huntsville (UAH) – Dr. Roy Spencer – Base Period 1981-2010 – Click the pic to view at source[/caption]
        and I am not aware of a mechanism whereby such a small increase in global temperatures could have a significant impact on Great Lakes Ice Cover. Also, most of the decline in Great Lakes Ice Cover occurred 1998 and beyond;
        [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="550"] NOAA Great Lakes Surface Environment Analysis (GLSEA) – Click the pic to view full size image[/caption]
        a period when global temperature have been quite steady.

    • I have no data but I do have anecdotal evidence that the 20 year cycle goes back to the 50’s – it would have been 1957 or 1958 that we had such bad winter weather near Erie Pennsylvania (on the shore of Lake Erie obviously) that they were helicoptering supplies out to small towns like the one my family in. Not worth much, but enough to make it worth someone(else) doing actual research

      • I live at the south end of the region, in a suburb of Chicago. We are currently 25*F below our average temp, for this day, and we have consistently been below average, for the winter season. And last winter was colder than this one. We seem to be recipient of the Siberian Express, that is sent South, by blocking highs, in the North Pacific, and a Greenland high.
        We have become the Canary in the Coalmine, for a pattern that can stay over land for extended periods, and not get moderated by Maritime warming. When you can break cold weather records, and you are getting several degrees of warmth, from UHI, the “warmest year evah” claim, is falling on frozen ears.

  14. One item not mentioned in the Trenberth/Mann article is that an increasing temperature gradient between the North Pole and the equator will cause a greater amount of moisture to be advected northward due to the southward advances of colder denser high pressure air.
    I would also suspect that the Gulf Stream was sending a lot of warm water north when Leif Erickson discovered North American, for those explorers were following the cod fish which normally do not swim too far north, as those fish are not big fans of really cold water.
    The point being the earth warms and the earth cools all by itself. No headlines there.

    • an increasing temperature gradient between the North Pole and the equator.
      ===================
      most of the warming has been at the North Pole, which reduces the temperature gradient.

      • ferdberple, replying to Chad Jessup

        an increasing temperature gradient between the North Pole and the equator.

        ===================
        most of the warming has been at the North Pole, which reduces the temperature gradient.

        Ah. But look at ALL of the DMI daily temperature records for 18 north latitude (on the sea ice, far from the CO2 darkened tree and vegatation growth-induced darkening albedo of the Arctic land areas in summer. It is ONLY the Arctic AVERAGE yearly temperatures that are going up.
        The DMI 80 north summer temperatures since 1959 have been rock-steady – no change at all since 1959 with a std deviation less than visible from 1.5 degrees C. DMI winter temperatures? A different story: Clearly and explicitly the winter temperatures are 2-4 degrees warmer than their “average” – but show a lot of oscillation and movement day-to-day.
        But summer temperatures at 80 north when the arctic sun is actually above the horizon? No change at all in 55 years of increasing CO2.

  15. Sing it with me now,
    Well the sun’s so hot,
    I froze to death.
    Susanna, don’t you cry

    (etc. ad nauseum)

  16. What realy saddens me about this website is that WUWT does not reallize that he has been had 100% by the AGW crowd, NOAA, GISS, Mosher, Zeke. BEST, their time is now coming Legally(not them but the fraudsters who have led them on)

  17. Mr Pachauri for example will probably end up in Jail in India for the next 5 years (nothing to do with climate)but he is the head of the IPCC!!!. If I was a warmist “climate scientist” at this stageI would really consider keeping my mouth shut for the next 5 years and find another career. For example meteorology is a really interesting and real career.! LOL

  18. Global Warming will reduce shipping costs on the Great Lakes due to decreased ice cover, except when there is record ice cover, which is a clear indication of Global Warming.

    • Once the lakes stay froze over year around, they will lay railroad tracks…or reduced to using a few dog sleds, since everyone from that area will have moved to Mexico to work the Agave farms. Canadians will move to icy winters Waco Texas eh. Washington D.C. politicos will not move, after all, there is a 97% consensus on global warming. Prost!

  19. Tonight and tomorrow I will be sampling global warming up close and personal. I have a trip from Chicago to Rochester, Minnesota. Forecast temps tonight in Rochester are for -17 F lows, which doesn’t sound terribly warm. Chicago is supposed to get down to -10F in the Western ‘Burbs tonight, again not overly warm.
    Never have any CAGW around when you really need it.

  20. Bill Nye has a solution:
    17 Feb: VIDEO: Daily Caller: Bill Nye Tells MSNBC To Say Climate Change, Not Global Warming, When It’s Cold Out
    Words are everything, even in the global warming debate. TV personality Bill Nye the “Science Guy” told MSNBC’s Joy Reid to use the phrase climate change, not global warming, when it’s so cold out.
    “Let’s not confuse or interchange climate change with global warming,” Nye told Reid on Monday. “Global warming – The world is getting warmer. There is more carbon [dioxide] holding in more heat.”
    “So when the climate changes, some places get colder,” Nye added. “And the thing that’s really consistent with climate change models is this variance where it’s cold, it’s warm, it’s cold, it’s warm… So what I would hope for, my dream, Joy, is that you all, you and the news business would just say the word climate change.”…ETC
    http://dailycaller.com/2015/02/17/bill-nye-tells-msnbc-to-say-climate-change-not-global-warming-when-its-cold-out/

  21. I wonder if satellite data can be used in a legal case at the local level to hinder the lumbering CAGW machine? We are starting to hear rumblings about private woodlots and wetland use. This has been our bread and butter for generations. And what really gets me, is that they truly believe they are saving us less intelligent country folk from destroying ourselves.

    • Starting? My sister had to sell out her Appaloosa horse ranch two hours drive east of Seattle, and buy a ranch up near Tonasket. Gave a perfectly servicable 100 acre pasture to Nature Conservancy on the east side of the Snosqualmie Pass in Washington State for the tax deduction, just because beavers intruded on the little stream running through that pasture and turned it into a federally ‘protected wetland’ that could no longer be grazed by the horses. 15 years ago.

      • Isn’t the Nature Conservancy a government department of Putin’s Russia? At least the money trail would suggest so.

      • Should have written a reply letter like the guy in Michigan did. Part of the letter –
        I am the legal owner and a couple of beavers are in the (State unauthorized) process of constructing and maintaining two wood “debris” dams across the outlet stream of my Spring Pond.
        While I did not pay for, nor authorize their dam project, I think they would be highly offended you call their skillful use of natural building materials “debris.” I would like to challenge you to attempt to emulate their dam project any dam time and/or any dam place you choose.
        I believe I can safely state there is no dam way you could ever match their dam skills, their dam resourcefulness, their dam ingenuity, their dam persistence, their dam determination and/or their dam work ethic.
        As to your dam request the beavers first must fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of dam activity, my first dam question to you is, “Are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers or do you require all dam beavers throughout this State to conform to said dam request?” If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, please send me completed copies of all those other applicable beaver dam permits.

        The whole story can be seen at – http://downeastwildliferehabilitationcenter.com/thedam.htm

      • … because beavers intruded on …
        I have no knowledge of your sister’s case but I do live about 2 hours east of Seattle. In the time frame you mention, or a bit before, when a landowner reported a problem with beavers they were told to call a trapper. The live-trapped beaver would be relocated to a “suitable habitat” without many or any beavers. Sometimes, when the trapper did not want to make a long drive, the animal would be released at a tributary to the Yakima River just south of Ellensburg, thou many beavers were already in that stream.

    • Yes, but back then, they were honest enough to not monkey with the temperature numbers. Yes, I agree with you, the globe is seeing 70’s temperatures, but the ground station data is so tampered with, that we are probably seeing temps 0.6 degC too high, and the satellite data, though better, has also been monkeyed with, most notably in 1998, when scientists wondered why they weren’t showing warming, so the scientists raised the temperatures, on the assumption that the orbits were too elliptical.

    • Arctic sea ice was close to its 20th century high in 1979, after three decades of cooling despite rising CO2. Before that the Arctic had enjoyed three decades of warming. It´s possible that in the 1900s & teens Arctic sea ice extent was greater than in the late 1970s, since the Little Ice Age had only ended in the past half century. But 1979 was definitely an unusually high ice year from which to start the record of satellite observation.

  22. Typo alert. In Last year, Kevin Ternberth, was one of 5 climate scientists who wrote about the drunken jet stream hypothesis in a letter published in Science Magazine stating that “It’s an interesting idea, but alternative observational analyses and simulations with climate models have not confirmed the hypothesis, and we do not view the theoretical arguments underlying it as compelling”. Given another freezing and snowy winter we look forward to seeing more inane hypotheses about how global warming makes it colder and results in massive snowfalls, and whether Kevin Ternberth supports them or refutes them…
    The emboldened should be “Trenberth.”

  23. I get a chuckle listening to the inventive explanations Alarmists come up with, to excuse their botched forecasts of warming. The ice in the Great Lakes is only one example.
    The AMO currently swinging so abruptly into its “cold” phase should further confuse the “Global Warming” playing field. It wasn’t expected for around five more years, so it only may be a brief “spike”. However, (for reasons I don’t understand), in the past even brief spikes have brought a surprisingly swift increase in sea-ice in the western reaches of the Northeast Passage, especially in Barents Sea. If history repeats itself, the “death spiral” crowd is going “‘t’have some ‘splainin’ t’do.”
    Stock up on popcorn.

  24. In the graph, to my eye, 2014 is (so far) a single-year spike in a gently declining trend. I would think that it has as yet zero statistical significance. IOW, it’s amusing but not meaningful.
    Question : Why does the graph start in 1973? I would have expected the data to go back way further than that, and it’s always desirable to see the full picture.

  25. These past 2 Winters have been similar to the WInters of 1976/77 and 1977/78. This is confirmed also on the “annual maximum ice cover” graph that shows how very high values in the late 1970’s.
    California also had a severe drought in 76/77 and by no coincidence. An upper ridge along the West Coast of North America teleconnects well to an upper level trough, downstream in the Midwest/Great Lakes to the East Coast.
    Here are some Northern hemisphere teleconnection patterns:
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/data/teledoc/telecontents.shtml
    It also appears to be no coincidence that we are having this current pattern, similar to the late 1970’s.
    There is a natural cycle, also seen with the PDO index that changes around every 30 years.
    http://margaret.atmos.washington.edu/pdo/
    When the PDO is negative, as it was most of the time in the 1950’s-70’s, we have more La Nina’s, see a tendency to have more ridges along the West Coast, sometimes into the Plains. This increases chances for droughts in those locations.
    It also increases chances for down stream troughs and depending on how far north the upper level ridge extends, can result in very cold air from high latitudes being displaced southward into the Midwest and East.
    When the PDO is positive, like it was in the 1980’s/90’s, the tendencies go in the opposite direction. More El Nino’s and Winter storms hitting the West Coast. More mild oceanic air transported across the rest of the US, with the Arctic air supply cut off.
    In the last decade, the PDO has flipped back to negative again, so our weather tendencies have also been in the direction that we last saw back in the 1970’s, when the PDO regime was a negative one.
    Another strong factor in common with the sign of the PDO is that we clearly have natural global warming with a +PDO and natural global cooling with a -PDO.
    During the 1950’s-70’s, the -PDO coincided with slight global cooling, so the natural cooling climate cycle was a bit greater than greenhouse gas warming of the atmosphere for around 30 years(and a global cooling scare).
    That was followed(1980’s/90’s) by natural global warming associated with a +PDO that when added to additional greenhouse gas warming, gave the appearance of an accelerating warming trend that many attributed entirely to increasing CO2, when in fact, probably only half of it was from that.
    With us well into the -PDO regime now, my educated guess is that the natural global cooling over the past decade+ has been almost the same but opposite as the greenhouse gas warming from increasing CO2. This has resulted in the “hiatus” or a stalling in the global temperature increase.
    In the last year, the PDO has spiked higher, well into the positive zone. Based on the previous periodicity of the cycle, this would be much too early for the -PDO to end(for us to start the next +PDO regime).
    There is much speculation on what this means right now. However, during the last -PDO, in the middle of it(late 1950’s, especially 1957/58) we saw this exact same thing happen. This was followed quickly by a return to the -PDO that lasted thru the 1960’s, well into the 1970’s. This finished off the approximately 30 years of that regime.
    http://margaret.atmos.washington.edu/pdo/PDO.latest
    For the last 2 months, the PDO index has been close to the highest readings ever. Much higher than it ever got to in the last 1950’s temporary spike higher.
    There could be powerful future implications but we may not know for a couple of years.
    If the -PDO cycle has ended, and we have entered the next +PDO regime, then odds are high that natural global warming will resume……..similar to the contributions of the natural part of the global warming in the 1980’s/90’s.
    Maybe the cycle has become shorter. The previous +PDO regime appears to have been quite a bit shorter than the 30 years of some prior ones.
    That +PDO started in the late 1970’s and one can make a strong case with it flipping to a -PDO as the great El Nino of 1998 was ending. This was only ~20 years.
    From 1998 to the start of last year(when the PDO went positive and has stayed there) was less than 16 years. If we had accurate data on the PDO going back 1,000 years, then we would know if this is unusual or not.
    Maybe the ~30 year periodicity of the last -PDO was unusually long or maybe the PDO regimes periodicity varies a great deal naturally.

    • Good observations about the PDO pattern. The record high PDO readings of 2.51 and 2.45 in December and January are probably the after effect of the borderline El Nino that never fully developed but there were some near El NINO effects . This was similar to the 2.1 and 2.09 PDO levels in December OF 2002 and January 2003 . I think the PDO level will start to drop and return to negative levels this year . AMO has also been dropping since 2003 . When both are negative again like the 1960’s and 1970’s , the cooling will be at its low( also like 1910 and 1920’s)

  26. Well this is exactly in line with IPCCs brilliant use of science that concluded when it gets colder in some regions it gets colder and when it gets warmer in some regions it gets warmer and humanity is at the heart of these colder/warmer scenarios of doom.
    Unfortunately Pachauri, the chairman of the IPCC cannot attend an upcoming meeting in Nairobi to help lead the effort against these catastrophic colder/warmer scenarios. Apparently there is a misunderstanding by female staffers where they are confusing Pachauri’s fatherly affections with sexual harassment. Also allegations of his being a crook are also a misunderstanding; his great growth in personal wealth occurring while chairman of the IPCC is strictly coincidence.

  27. There is a big difference to what is happening in North America and what is happening for the globe generally . 2014 was the 4th warmest with respect to global and Northern Hemisphere land areas . US was the 33 warmest and Canada was the 25 th warmest. The Great Lakes and St . Lawrence Valley was 7 th coldest taken annually . Winters have had a cooling trend for North America since 1998. The previous 2013/2014 winter was the 6th coldest in 7decades( 67 years ) for the Great Lakes and ST Lawrence valley as measured by the Canadian data . This winter will likely beat even this record .
    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/COOLING_OF_NORTHERN_HEMISPHERE.pdf

  28. Okay it’s time to start the “WUWT 100% Ice Cover” pool. What year will 100% of all the great lakes become the great skating rink?
    Given that we are in the negative phase of the PDO and the AMO has peaked and is on the way down plus the sun being in a lull not seen in centuries it will probably happen.
    I’ll go with 2023.

    • Lake Superior (or gichigami in Ojibwe) retains the defining characteristics of a lake, but behaves like an inland sea. It has a small tide, busy international ports and 3-quadrillion gallons of water. That’s:
      3,000,000,000,000,000 gallons (11.4-quadrillion liters)
      Enough to submerge North and South America under 1 foot of fresh water
      10% of the world’s fresh surface water
      Over half of the water contained in the Great Lakes
      Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area and the third largest by volume. Scoured into its present form by the retreating glacial ice sheet covering the region during the last Ice Age (about 10,000 years ago).
      http://www.seagrant.umn.edu/superior/overview

  29. The lake ice is due to climate change.
    My knee hurts from the cold weather.
    That is due to climate change.
    My car was cold when I got in it this morning.
    Due to climate change.
    Everything that has ever happened on Earth for 4.5 billion years …
    has been accompanied by climate change.
    — Since everything and climate change happened at the same time,
    that is proof that climate change causes EVERYTHING
    I wonder if I can get a big goobermint grant to study my hypothesis?
    More ranting and raving at my climate blog — the only climate blog in the universe with a centerfold:
    http://www.ELonionBloggle.blogspot.com

  30. Here are excellent visible satellite image of of Lake Erie.
    http://coastwatch.glerl.noaa.gov/modis/modis.php?region=e&page=1&template=sub&image=a1.15056.1855.LakeErie.143.250m.jpg
    Here can see, that there are some small cracks, covering tiny part of lake area. At deeper look , can see that see that most of these cracks are frozen.
    From reports ice coverage < 96%.
    Lake Erie area is 25667 km2.
    4% of 25667 = 1027 km2
    Area of near Lake Saint Clair = 1114 km2 or 4.4% very close to open water area in lake Erie (according reports.)
    And now see the sat. image (link above) , where both lakes: Erie and St.Clair are visible.
    The area of cracks definitely is smaller than area of lake St Clair.
    Therefore assuming that all darker cracks are open water (which is not true) we could not get 4% of open water for Lake Erie.
    Are open water under white areas ?
    .

  31. more game playing, the report from yesterday (3-1-15 ice coverage estimate) was 92+% with freezing temps all over the Great Lakes that next night, and today (3-2-15 report) it’s lost nearly 15% HUH? 78.6%

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