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Posts tagged Lake Superior

Lake Superior Feeling the Heat: Climate Change and the Great Lakes of North America

47.0N 86.3W

June 14th, 2013 Category: Lakes AVHRRMetOp

USA and Canada – June 14th, 2013

The Great Lakes are feeling the heat from climate change. As the world’s largest freshwater system warms, it is poised to systematically alter life for local wildlife and the tribes that depend on it, and the warming could also provide a glimpse of what is happening on a more global level.

Total ice cover on Lake Superior (center), which is the largest, deepest and coldest of the five lakes, has shrunk by about 20 percent over the past 37 years. Though the change has made for longer, warmer summers, it’s a problem because ice is crucial for keeping water from evaporating and it regulates the natural cycles of the Great Lakes (click here for more information).


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 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.

Smoke Over Lake Manitoba, Canada

50.6N 98.3W

September 13th, 2012 Category: Clouds, Fires, Lakes

Canada and USA – August 29th, 2012

Smoke from wildfires in Canada creates a thick cloud in the upper left corner of this image, covering Lake Manitoba. The smoke blows in a southeasterly direction, towards Lake Superior (right center) and Lake Michigan (right edge, below the former). A few contrails from passing airplanes can be observed cutting through the cloud of smoke.

Smoke Over USA Near Great Lakes

43.8N 92W

September 9th, 2012 Category: Clouds, Fires, Lakes

USA – August 27th, 2012

Popcorn clouds frame the shoreline of Lake Superior (above) and part of Lake Michigan (right), two of the North American Great Lakes, in this image of the USA and Canada. While Lake Superior appears mostly sediment-free, some faint swirls of sediment can be observed in the southern half of Lake Michigan. Visible on the left side of the image is a thin, smoky veil from fires in western USA that has blow across the country to the midwestern states.