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Impacts of Climate Change on Lake Superior, USA – May 11th, 2013

47.0N 86.3W

May 11th, 2013 Category: Image of the day, Lakes

USA – May 10th, 2013

Researchers have discovered that Lake Superior is one of the most rapidly warming lakes in the world. The lake has lost 79% of its ice cover and lake levels have fluctuated below the long-term average since an extreme drought beginning in 1997-98. The impacts of climate changes like these and other changes could significantly affect the human and natural environments in the Lake Superior basin.

Changes in the amounts of snow melt and rain affect water levels in Lake Superior and inland lakes. These changes have implications for shoreline management and protection including uncertainty about changes to erosion processes.

Increased stormwater runoff and sedimentation of rivers, streams, and bays during extreme flooding, as seen in Duluth, Thunder Bay, and Wawa in the summer of 2012. The economic viability of harbors and marinas may be at risk when water levels change dramatically. For example, lowered water levels may require expensive dredging to maintain boating and shipping operations.

Increased temperatures impact ecological functions and put all natural resources, associated values, and benefits at potential risk. Higher temperatures may also impact the economy and Lake Superior basin communities.

Increased evaporation of surface waters due to drought or reduced precipitation affects water levels, which can reduce recreational boating and the shipping industry.

Decreased ice cover due to higher winter temperatures affects recreational fishing and the tourist industry, water transportation such as ferries, and helps to keep the water warmer for a longer time, which can lead to a negative feedback loop.
Extreme weather events such as flooding, high winds, or significant snowfalls may result in effects on human health and well-being, as well as cause negative economic impacts (click here for more information).

Sediments in Lake Superior Between Duluth and Apostle Islands – September 29th, 2010

47.1N 90.7W

September 29th, 2010 Category: Image of the day, Lakes, Sediments

USA and Canada - September 18th, 2010

The western end of Lake Superior, one of the North American Great Lakes, occupies the majority of this image. Visible at the western extreme of the lake is the city of Duluth, Minnesota. Further east near the southern shoreline lie the Apostle Islands, belonging to Wisconsin.

Sediments line the southern shores between the city and the island group, appearing dark tan near Duluth and greenish and more dispersed as one moves towards the islands.

The Apostle Islands are a group of 22 islands in Lake Superior, off the Bayfield Peninsula in northern Wisconsin. Over 800 plant species occur within the lakeshore, which also provides important nesting habitat for colonial nesting birds.

Duluth is a port city in the U.S. state of Minnesota and the fourth largest city in the state. At the westernmost point of the Great Lakes on the north shore of Lake Superior, Duluth is linked to the Atlantic Ocean 2,300 miles (3,700 km) away via the Great Lakes and Erie Canal/New York State Barge Canal or Saint Lawrence Seaway passages and is the Atlantic Ocean’s westernmost deep-water port.

Duluth forms a metropolitan area with Superior, Wisconsin. Called the Twin Ports, these two cities share the Duluth-Superior Harbor and together are the world’s largest inland port and one of the most important ports on the Great Lakes, shipping coal, iron ore (taconite), and grain.

Keweenaw Peninsula and Isle Royale in Lake Superior – April 5th, 2010

47.9N 88.8W

April 5th, 2010 Category: Image of the day, Lakes

USA - March 5th, 2010

USA - March 5th, 2010

Lake Superior

Lake Superior

Three of the Great Lakes – Lakes Superior (left), Michigan (center) and Huron (right) stand out against the snow-dusted landscape of Canada (above) and the USA (center and below). The close-up focuses on Lake Superior and includes the state of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula (below) and Isle Royale (above).

The Keweenaw Peninsula is the northern-most part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, projecting into Lake Superior. Isle Royale is an island of the Great Lakes, located in the northwest of Lake Superior, and part of the state of Michigan. The island is 45 miles (72 km) long and 9 miles (14 km) wide, with an area of 206.73 square miles (535.43 km2), making it the largest natural island in Lake Superior.

Lake Baikal During the Summer – September 23rd, 2011

53.1N 107.6E

September 23rd, 2011 Category: Image of the day, Lakes

Russia - September 18th, 2011

Lake Baikal is the world’s oldest and deepest lake at 30 million years old and with an average depth of 744.4 metres.

Located in the south of the Russian region of Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast, it is the most voluminous freshwater lake in the world, containing roughly 20% of the world’s unfrozen surface fresh water. In this image, acquired during the northern hemisphere summer, its waters and the surrounding landscape are not frozen.

At 1,642 metres (5,387 ft), Lake Baikal is the deepest and among the clearest of all lakes in the world. Similarly to Lake Tanganyika, Lake Baikal was formed as an ancient rift valley, having the typical long crescent shape with a surface area of 31,722 km2/12,248 sq mi, less than that of Lake Superior or Lake Victoria. Baikal is home to more than 1,700 species of plants and animals, two thirds of which can be found nowhere else in the world.

Great Lakes of North America – April 9th, 2011

45.0N 82.4W

April 8th, 2011 Category: Image of the day, Lakes

USA and Canada - March 30th, 2011

Snow dusts the ground in Canada to the north of the Great Lakes, while the terrain in the USA to the south is less snow-covered but partially obscured by clouds.

Lakes Superior (left, above) and Michigan (left, below), are partially visible, while Lakes Huron (center), Erie (right, below) and Ontario (right, above the former) can be seen in their entirety. Also visible south of Lake Ontario are the thin, parallel Finger Lakes of New York State.