Posts Tagged ‘Great Lakes’

No sign of global warming in Great Lakes ice cover

April 25, 2014

Great lakes (Wikipedia)

An exceptionally cold winter has seen the ice coverage over the Great Lakes being extremely high. Lake Superior has experienced the latest ever recorded start to shipping.

The total accumulated ice cover since 1980/81 and till 2013/14 shows no sign of any global warming. The season 2011/12 with its low ice cover was often “produced” as proof of global warming. By that standard of proof, 2013/14 clearly demonstrates that global cooling is upon us and a new ice age is on the way.

From Canadian Ice Service:

Historical Great Lakes Ice Cover 1980 - 2014

Extra ice-breakers to the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway

March 26, 2014

There is more ice cover in the Great Lakes than there has been for twenty years. For this week the ice cover is just under 80% compared to the long-term average of just under 20%. That hardly provides any evidence of “global warming”. It is nothing particularly extreme either — after all it happened twenty years ago. The only conclusion that is supported is that there has been little – if any – change in the climate over the Great Lakes over the last twenty years.

CTV News: 

19th March:The Canadian Coast Guard says it is sending more icebreakers to help clear shipping channels in the frozen Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.

“What we have committed to do given the extreme conditions is to bring two more assets (icebreakers), as well as a hovercraft, to facilitate the opening of the seaway,” Mario Pelletier, the coast guard’s assistant commissioner, said from Ottawa Wednesday.

Faced with the worst ice conditions in 20 years, Pelletier said it is too early to say when freighters filled with grain and other commodities will be able to move normally through the trade corridor. ….. A section of the seaway between Lake Ontario and Montreal is frozen but it set to open March 31. Shipping channels west of that area are choked with thick ice. 

“The conditions at Thunder Bay and the Sault Ste. Marie system is very extreme and the eastern portion of Lake Erie,” Pelletier said. There are already two coast guard icebreakers in the Great Lakes. One additional icebreaker is to be in the seaway system by Friday, Pelletier said. It is to be joined by another icebreaker and a hovercraft early next week. More coast guard ships could follow.

The Canadian Ice Service graph below shows the historical extent of ice cover on the Great Lakes for this week of the year – currently more than four times greater than “normal” at just under 80%.

Great lakes Ice Cover week of March 26th

Great lakes Ice Cover week of March 26th

Ice cover on the Great Lakes at an unprecedented (since 1980) high

March 4, 2014

Ice cover on the Great lakes typically reaches maximum in the second week of March and the median since 1980 is at about 40%.

This week ice cover reached over 90%. Maximum in a “normal” year would be reached in the second week of March.

Both the diagrams below are from the Canadian Ice Service with the first showing ice cover historically for this week (since 1980) and the second showing the ice cover for this season (2013/2014) with the median for 1980-2010. This season ice cover is running at more than twice the median values.

Historical Great lakes Ice Cover  week of 0304 Canadian Ice Service

Historical Great lakes Ice Cover week of 0304
Canadian Ice Service

Great Lakes Ice Cover Season 2013 - 2014 Canadian Ice Service

Great Lakes Ice Cover Season 2013 – 2014 Canadian Ice Service

Global warming contortionists will no doubt find strange and convoluted explanations to show that this massive increase of ice cover is not inconsistent with global warming. The missing heat could be hiding in the deep waters around the world and Nessie is probably running a fever.

Of course this massive increase of ice cover is also not inconsistent with the start of another Little Ice Age.

The most parsimonious explanation is that the climate and weather are going through their “natural variations” (due directly or indirectly to the Sun) and that there is no missing heat. Which leads to the obvious – but politically incorrect – conclusion that man-made global warming is – at most – insignificant.

Great Lakes ice cover approaching highest levels for twenty years

February 8, 2014

The Great Lakes ice cover on 7th February had reached 78% and will continue increasing in the coming days – at least until the 3rd week of February (Source: NOAA).

Gl Ice 7th February 2014 NOAA

Gl Ice 7th February 2014 NOAA

Having a high ice cover is apparently a “good thing” . Jeff Masters writes:

The increased ice coverage on the Great Lakes this winter is good news for water levels on the lakes, which are still struggling to recover from some record lows recorded at this time last year. During January 2013, water levels on Lake Michigan and Lake Huron fell to their all-time lowest values since record keeping began in 1918, 29 inches below the long-term average. While the water levels recovered substantially during 2013, which was one of the wettest years in Michigan’s history, water levels were still a foot below average at the beginning of 2014. The above average ice cover this winter will reduce evaporation from the Great Lakes, keeping water loss lower than in recent winters. 

I suppose one can have too much of a good thing and that being completely frozen for too long a time is not a “good thing”.

Historically the ice cover is approaching the highest levels seen for over 20 years. (From Canadian Ice Service)

Great Lakes Ice february 4th 2014 - Canadian Ice Service

Great Lakes Ice february 4th 2014 – Canadian Ice Service

If there is a global warming (or global cooling) signal in this chart – I can’t see it. The natural variations are of an amplitude which hides any such signal – if it exists. Whenever weather observations – however extreme – are still within the envelope of what has been observed before it only shows that such observations are not unprecedented and must be taken as to be within natural variations. And if what is observed has also been observed before the industrial revolution – say 200 years ago – then industrialisation cannot be blamed.

Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa writes:

Ice continued to build this past week on the Great Lakes due to the cold air and temperatures staying below freezing, and Lake Superior’s new record shows it.

The lake is 92 percent frozen, toppling a 20-year-old record of 91 percent set on Feb. 5, 1994. That statistic helped total Great Lakes ice cover soar, and we can expect to see more form in coming days.

The air temperatures this past week averaged around five degrees below normal for the Great Lakes area. This amount of deviation from normal means it was a fairly cold week.


Lake Superior

Lake Superior is almost frozen over as of yesterday February 5, 2014. Lake Superior is 92 percent covered with ice now. The ice has increased rapidly in the past week, from 76 percent ice cover on January 30, 2014. The high resolution satellite picture from February 3, 2014 shows all of the ice cover on Lake Superior. The current ice cover on Lake Superior is the highest amount ever for February 5. In 1994, Lake Superior was reportedly 91 percent covered in ice.

Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan is now 51 percent covered with ice, as opposed to 42 percent at this time last week. Coyotes were seen walking on the ice just offshore of Chicago this week. This makes us wonder if the lakes freeze over totally, will animals from Canada be able to cross over Lake Huron or Lake Superior, and enter Michigan. It is thought that this is how the last wolverine spotted in Michigan made it into Michigan. Lake Michigan has been covered with more ice on this date in the past. In 1977 and 1996, Lake Michigan was up to 74 percent ice covered.

Lake Huron

Ice cover on Lake Huron rocketed up an additional 14 percent this week, climbing to a total ice cover of 86 percent. If the ice continues to build at that rate in this next week, Lake Huron could be almost frozen over, or frozen over by the end of next week. People ice fishing are reporting 24 inches of ice on Saginaw Bay near Bay City. Lake Huron has been as much at 95 percent covered in ice on this date back in 1981 and 1994.

Lake Erie

Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes, with an average depth of 62 feet and a maximum depth of 210 feet. It also has the least volume of any Great Lake, with 116 cubic miles of water. So it should come as no surprise that Lake Erie currently has the highest percentage of ice cover. Lake Erie is 96 percent covered with ice. Last week at this time Lake Erie had 94 percent ice cover. Erie was entirely ice covered on February 5, 1996.

Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario is an interesting lake. It is the smallest Great Lake when it comes to surface area, but actually holds more than three times the amount of water when compared to Lake Erie. The average depth of Lake Ontario is 283 feet, making it the second deepest Great Lake behind Lake Superior. The deepest spot in Lake Ontario is 802 feet. The ice cover on Lake Ontario is the lowest of any of the Great Lakes, with only 32 percent covered in ice. Last week at this time, Lake Ontario had 27 percent ice cover. Lake Ontario has been covered with as much as 79 percent ice up to this point in the winter in 1994.


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