The Great Lakes Are Nearly Covered With Ice

The polar vortex turns the Midwest into a winter wonderland

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Brian Peterson / The Minneapolis Star Tribune / AP

In this Feb. 2, 2014 photo, people walk past a cave at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in northern Wisconsin, transformed into a dazzling display of ice sculptures by the arctic siege gripping the Upper Midwest

This winter has been so harsh in the Midwest that the Great Lakes are almost completely covered with ice for the first time since 1994. The coast guard is working to clear paths for ships carrying essential cargo like salt, oil and coal, the Associated Press reports.

The Great Lakes hold almost one-fifth of the freshwater in the world and partially freeze over every winter. But over the last forty years, the average ice cover has decreased by 70%. The biggest exception came in 1994, when 94 percent of the lakes’ surface froze. This year, ice has covered 88 percent of their surface, according to the federal government’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Solid ice has allowed visitors to cross Lake Superior to explore the caves  at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin and gaze upon their otherworldly ice formations. According to AP,  this is the first time since 2009 that the lake surface has been stable enough for people to reach those caves (shown in the photo above).

Though the polar vortex has kept people indoors, it may benefit the lakes. The ice limits evaporation, which allows water levels to replenish. Plus, it protects lakeside cities from large dumps of snow: cold air masses sometimes suck up moisture from the water, which turns into heavy snowfall. The icy cover prevents such heavy snowfall from lake moisture.

[AP]

9 comments
bachcole
bachcole

Ain't global warming a bitch!!!

yellow2
yellow2

So good to hear GOOD environmental news once every 10 years 

MichaelMoerland
MichaelMoerland

@bachcole FYI the US is not the world.  Jan 2014 was the 4th warmest January GLOBAL temperature.  You and many like you seem to confuse weather (local and short term) with climate (global and long term).


JoshSoffer
JoshSoffer

@bachcole Yeah, it warmed the pacific and pushed the damn jet stream over the midwest.

bachcole
bachcole

@JoshSoffer @bachcole  And who is to say that that won't trigger an Ice Age.  More heat in the Pacific may mean more evaporation which means more snow in North America which means temps drops in North America, etc.  You get the picture.  I don't believe the climate so-called scientists.  Climate models are not science.  They are clever programming, particularly when the climate model programmers get paid for coming up with models that fit the hysteria.  If they came up with models that did not fit the hysteria, they would become unemployed.  You might call that my employment model.   (:->)

bachcole
bachcole

@JoshSoffer You make a most excellent point.  I don't think that they are lying.  But I doubt if I could look them in the eye and hold my own.  I appreciate your insight.  However, let us switch it around and say you sit down with some anti-AGW scientists (and, yes, there are plenty of them) and look them in the eye and discuss it with them.  One condition would be that you can't refer to what someone else said; you can only bring up data points.  What someone else said doesn't count.


However, it is all moot because LENR (cold fusion) is real and it is on its way to commercialization; it is merely a matter of time.  So I don't really give much of a fig about AGW anymore.  Arguing about it for me would just be short stroking my ego.   (:->)

JoshSoffer
JoshSoffer

@bachcole @JoshSofferI might call that failing to appreciate the integrity and diversity of the international scientific community. Tell you what, why don't you pick a random group of climate scientists near you, make an appointment to have a short discussion with them about what they believe and why, look them right in the eye, and then come back and tell me they're lying.

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