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Friday, December 29, 2017

Great Lakes Ice Coverage More Than Doubled in Last Week; Lake Erie Freezing Fast

Posted By on Fri, Dec 29, 2017 at 12:59 PM

click to enlarge eicecon_01.gif

Since we last brought you some Scene Ice News on Dec. 22, the Great Lakes' collective ice coverage has more than doubled.

click to enlarge U.S. Coast Guard's Hollyhock ice-cutter - GEO SWAN
  • Geo Swan
  • U.S. Coast Guard's Hollyhock ice-cutter
Surely you've noticed the face-numbing north shore temperatures lately; this may be the first year since 2000 that will see almost every part of Lake Erie frozen over. (This is different, according to NOAA, than a "100-percent frozen" lake.)

This very nifty Great Lakes Environmental Research Library tool shows that Lake Erie should be about 50-percent covered in ice by New Year's Day. The U.S. Coast Guard's ice-cutter, "Hollyhock," will likely be needed in the lake's western basin, by Toledo, this weekend.

The variability in Lake Erie ice coverage year-to-year can be taken as part and parcel of climatic change in the northern hemisphere. Last year, according to GLERL data, the lake hit about 20-percent ice coverage. The "polar vortex" winter of 2013-2014 saw 92-percent ice coverage. This winter may eclipse that mark, if trends bear out.

Nevertheless, don't take this as your cue to get into ice camping anytime soon.

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