Ice coverage across the Great Lakes reached 92.5 percent in 2014, the highest on record since 1979. The onset of first ice cover on inland lakes in the region is 6-11 days later than during the middle 19th century and the breakup of ice in the spring is 2-13 days earlier. Monday, January 12, 2015, 7:51 PM - Winter sport enthusiasts can rejoice as a cold snap has pushed total ice coverage on the Great Lakes to double-digits. Although the reason for the shift is not completely understood, Lake Superior's and Huron's shifts coincide with a strong ENSO event occurring in 1998. Lake Huron has actually seen a rapid increase in surface ice development during the last week. The map shows the extent of the maximum ice cover on the Great Lakes for each year. These far-reaching impacts emphasize the need for continued monitoring and modeling of the Great Lakes as our climate continues to change. Data is from the U.S. National Ice Center and the Canadian Ice Service. Looking year to year, things can swing wildly from a lot of ice to a little which is why forecasting ice cover in the Great Lakes every year is so important. The siege of polar air that has gripped the region this winter has caused the most extensive freeze-over of the lakes since … Ice actually has a considerable impact. Last Friday was the earliest date that all three Great Lakes already had ice since the better reporting of early season ice began. Great Lakes CoastWatch Node NOAA/Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory 4840 S. State Rd. Even at winter maximum, most lakes normally remain at least somewhat un-iced. Making matters worse, if ice loss continues, cold-water fish like the whitefish might have to now compete with warm-water fish for the same resources. What factors impact ice coverage on the Great Lakes? The Great Lakes ice cover was from 15% to 18% this week, compared with about 67% a year ago, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says Why 8 … With shorter winters and op… According to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, 0.1% of the Great Lakes is covered with ice. Data is from the U.S. National Ice Center and Canadian Ice Service. Lake Superior-2 Jan 2018 Fish spawning can be impacted. 30-year average ice condition graphics for the Arctic, Hudson Bay, East Coast, Great Lakes Meanwhile, many different ecosystems also rely on ice cover during the winter. Clear skies, thanks to high pressure over the region, reveal lake ice and snow cover on the ground in remarkable detail. Decent early season ice coverage records date back to 1973. Lake Superior's ice coverage further beat 2014's record in 2019, reaching 95% coverage… Great Lakes ice cover facts since 1973 94.7% ice coverage in 1979 is the maximum on record. On the bottom is a time series of the annual maximum ice cover averaged over all of the Great Lakes from 1973 to 2018. Great Lakes ice cover decreasing over last 40 years A downward trend since the 1970s in the annual maximum extent of Great Lakes ice cover, which reaches a maximum every year during late winter and early spring, spells trouble for the Great Lakes ecosystem and the people who rely on it. In contrast, Lake Erie, a shallower lake, is normally over 70% ice covered by late winter. Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History. The U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards have assisted over 300 ships this winter, one of the most demanding years for icebreaking. That being said, if we look at the figure below showing the maximum ice coverage from 1973 through this year, we can see that 2014 saw some … Animation of Historical Great Lakes Ice Cover NOAA GLERL's ice cover dataset extends from 1973 to present, serving the Great Lakes community in research, application, and management. “The Great Lakes have 9 times the ice coverage of last year at this time,” says reader Marque2. Shipping is shut down for a part of the year. Average maximum ice coverage on the Great Lakes from 1973-2018. Along with the yearly data (in light blue), a five-year running average (dark blue) is also included as well as the overall trend of the maximum ice cover data (dotted line). Graph by Scott Sutherland. But ice cover also impacts the Great Lakes ecosystem and climate. Great Lakes Ice Cover from December 6th, 2017. Since 1973, the maximum ice cover over all of the Great Lakes was 95% in 1979, while the minimum during this period was only 1 1% in 2002. Fish spawning can be impacted. Great Lakes Ice Cover See also 60-day GLSEA SST/Ice Animation The Detroit Army Corps of Engineers has kept records of Great Lakes ice coverage going back to 1973. Less ice on the Great Lakes means more open water and moisture that can be picked up and turned into lake effect precipitation for downwind communities. NOAA GLERL and its partners conduct innovative research on the dynamic environments and ecosystems of the Great Lakes and coastal regions to provide information for resource use and management decisions that lead to safe and sustainable ecosystems, ecosystem services, and human communities. NOAA The greatest ice coverage existed over northern Lake Huron, at 15.3 percent, while the lowest was just a hint of ice… Studies in the Lake Superior region indicate that a river system and valleys formed by water erosion existed before the Ice Age. In that time, the lakes have surpassed 80% ice coverage a mere five times. For one, shipping across the Great Lakes is a multi-billion dollar industry which employs tens of thousands of people. The bottom image shows ice cover a year earlier (March 16, 2014) when ice covered 75 percent of the lakes. This helpful guide explains the proper way to interpret ice conditions on our charts. Great Lakes ice coverage peaked at around 88 percent before a warm spell dipped coverage down to 61 percent. Shipping is shut down for a part of the year. Whitefish, for instance, use the ice cover to protect its eggs from big winter storms, which rile up the water. In recent years, warmer surface water temperatures in the Great Lakes have contributed to lower water levels by increasing rates of evaporation and causing lake ice to form later than usual (see the Lake Ice indicator), which extends the season for evaporation. Despite this fairly consistent seasonal pattern, some lakes are losing ice cover faster than others. 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