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How much ice cover is on the Great Lakes?

Credit: G. Farina, NOAA GLERL. This winter’s maximum seasonal ice cover of 45.8% is just 7.5% less than the long-term average of 53.3%. While it’s below the average, it’s still more than double the 2020 seasonal maximum of 19.5% ice cover, but is just over half the 2019 seasonal maximum of 80.9%.

What is the current ice coverage on the Great Lakes?

The most recent ice cover forecast, updated on Feb 14th, 2021, predicted a maximum Great Lakes ice cover of 38%. The long-term average annual maximum ice cover (AMIC) is 53.3%. The predicted maximum seasonal ice cover for each lake is as follows: Lake Superior = 46% (long-term average AMIC is 61.5%)

How much of Lake Michigan is covered with ice?

Lake Michigan’s ice coverage is currently at 27.9%, and Lake Huron’s coverage is 37.9% at this time. The past week has seen significant ice growth, nowhere more apparent than on Lake Erie, the shallowest of all of the Great Lakes, where the ice coverage is currently at 73.9%.

How thick is the ice on Lake Michigan?

The ice forms where the water is most shallow, so on normal winter seasons, the entire shoreline is frozen over, with the ice going as thick as six inches. This is, however, an average as actual ice thickness can wildly vary.

When was Lake Superior frozen over?

Again, the answer is yes, but rarely. The last time that Lake Superior completely froze over was in 1996, but it has come close to freezing a few times over the past two decades.

Has the Great Lakes frozen over this year?

Estimated Ice Thickness of the Great Lakes In mid-January, the Great Lakes had an average ice coverage of 10-15%. The primary reason for the initial low ice cover in 2021 is that the region experienced temperatures 3 to 8 degrees above normal.

When did Lake Michigan last freeze over?

Data provided by Environment Canada and the U.S. National Weather Service indicate that Lake Michigan ice coverage reached 90 to 95 percent in the winters of 1903-04, 1976-77, 1978-79 and 2013-14.

Do the Great Lakes completely freeze over?

It is sporadic for all the Great Lakes to freeze over entirely. Yet they experience substantial ice coverage, with large sections of each lake freezing over in the coldest months. During the winter of 2013-2014, frigid temperatures covered the Great Lakes and the surrounding states.

Are there currents in the Great Lakes?

In the Great Lakes, there are permanent currents and variable currents. Permanent currents are always found in certain locations — and only vary in strength. For example, strong currents are always present along piers and breakwalls, and can be found where rivers and streams empty into the lake.

Which great lake does not freeze?

Lake Erie has no ice on it at all, and this is the Great Lake that is the shallowest of them all and in a typical winter it more often than not completely freezes over!

How much of the Great Lakes are covered in ice?

On that day, ice covered 55 percent of the lakes, according to the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. The bottom image shows ice cover a year earlier (March 16, 2014) when ice covered 75 percent of the lakes.

How is GLERL used in the Great Lakes?

GLERL’s short-term ice forecasting is part of the Great Lakes Coastal Forecasting System, a model used by the National Ocean Service to predict wind, waves, currents, and more. These ice nowcast and forecast products (concentration, thickness, velocity, and vessel icing) are still experimental but being transitioned to operations.

When was the first ice on the Great Lakes?

Lake Superior, while the largest and deepest of all the Great Lakes, is so far north into the colder winter air that even its open waters often develop ice cover later into the winter on an annual basis. Figure 3. Average date of first ice (> 80% coverage) from 1973 to 2002 on the Great Lakes.

When did NOAA start monitoring the Great Lakes?

NOAA/GLERL has been monitoring and documenting Great Lakes ice cover since the early 1970’s using the ice products developed by the U.S. National Ice Center and the Canadian Ice Service.