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Climate Change and Less Ice Cover on Great Lakes, USA and Canada

44.7N 87W

April 3rd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Lakes

USA – April 2nd, 2013

As the northern hemisphere spring begins, sediments can be seen in Lake Erie (bottom right) and along the southern shores of Lake Michiagan (left). Some ice can be seen in Green Bay (upper left), an arm of Lake Michigan located along the south coast of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the east coast of Wisconsin, and in North Channel (top), the body of water along the north shore of Lake Huron, in the Canadian province of Ontario. It stretches approximately 160 nautical miles and is bordered on the east by Georgian Bay (upper right).

Analysts say less ice cover is leading to erosion of Great Lakes shoreline. Whether you believe in global warming or not, changes are happening in the Great Lakes at all times of the year. The Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation says climate change is behind a lack of ice cover on Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, and that this is part of a long-term trend that first became noticeable in the early 1970s. Researchers say we’re seeing 71 per cent less ice in the Lakes than we did in 1973.

The lack of ice permits heavy wave action that contributes to beach and other shoreline erosion, since the heaviest wave action on the Lakes takes place during the winter months. The reduced ice cover allows the water to absorb sunlight instead of reflecting it back to the atmosphere. The absorption prevents ice from forming as the water becomes warmer (click here for more information).

Sediments in the Great Lakes of North America

41.8N 87.6W

November 17th, 2012 Category: Lakes

USA – November 16th, 2012

Sediments and phytoplankton create swirled patterns in three of the five Great Lakes of North America. Lake Michigan (left), shows bright blue paisley patterns in the southern half, particularly near the city of Chicago, USA. Lake Huron (center), also shows sediments and phytoplankton along its southern shores. Lake Erie (lower right quadrant), shows sediments of a more green and gold hue, and distributed throughout most of its waters. Lakes Superior (upper left quadrant) and Ontario (right edge), however, appear mostly clear.

Swirls of Sediments in Lake Erie, USA

42.0N 81.3W

April 19th, 2012 Category: Lakes, Sediments

USA - April 12th, 2012

While Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron (left to right) appear mostly sediment free, with the exception of some greenish sediments framing Lake Michigan’s southern shoreline, Lake Erie offers a lively display of colors. The lake shows swirls of golden, green and blue sediments, and is framed by dotted white popcorn clouds.

Sediments in Lake Erie as Spring Begins, North America – April 8th, 2012

42.0N 81.3W

April 8th, 2012 Category: Lakes

USA and Canada - April 6th, 2012

Lake Erie Close-up

Although most of the Great Lakes of North America (from left to right, Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario) appear mostly sediment free, Lake Erie shows multi-colored swirls of sediment as spring begins after a nearly iceless winter. The smaller Lake St. Clair can be observed between Lakes Erie and Huron, also filled with multicolored sediments.

This winter showed warmer than normal temperatures in the Great Lakes Region. Reports indicate that temperatures around all five of the Great Lakes averaged around 5 ° F higher than normal since November 2011. Only 5% of the lakes were covered by ice in mid-February, and Lake Eries water temperatures in late March were reported at 39 °F, equal to the warmest water temperature ever measured there at this time of year.

Sediments in Lake Erie, USA and Canada

42.0N 81.3W

March 13th, 2012 Category: Lakes, Sediments

USA - March 11th, 2012

Three of the North American Great Lakes can be observed here: part of Lake Huron (upper left corner), Lake Erie (south of the former), and Lake Ontario (upper right quadrant).

Sediments give Lake Erie a swirled pattern of colors that is milky green in some areas, dark green in others, and turquoise in others. Lake Huron shows some sediments by the southeastern shoreline, while Lake Ontario shows very few sediments. A series of finger lakes can be seen parallel to each other southeast of Lake Ontario, also showing few sediments.