Historic Lows in the Great Lakes Unveiled

Great Lakes Ice Cover February 2024 Annotated

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Satellite picture of the Great Lakes recorded on February 24, 2024, by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite sensing unit aboard the Suomi NPP satellite.

The impacts of a warm winter season in the upper Midwest appear in the absence of lake ice.

Ice protection on the Great Lakes usually reaches its yearly peak in late February or earlyMarch But at that time in 2024, the lakes were notably devoid of ice. Owing to warmer winter season weather condition and above-average surface area water temperature levels, ice cover stood at historical lows.

Since satellite-based measurements started in 1973, ice protection at its optimum winter season level goes beyond, usually, 40 percent. In late February 2024, it stood at just about one-tenth of the typical optimum. The VIIRS (Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite) sensing unit aboard the Suomi NPP satellite got this picture of the lakes on February 24, 2024.

Historical Trends and Recent Observations

The level to which the lakes freeze is extremely variable. In 2014, for instance, protection exceeded 80 percent. Since 1973, nevertheless, levels have actually been trending down. Annual optimum ice protection has actually reduced by roughly 5 percent per years, according to < period class ="glossaryLink" aria-describedby ="tt" data-cmtooltip ="<div class=glossaryItemTitle>NOAA</div><div class=glossaryItemBody>The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a scientific agency of the United States government that is focused on understanding and predicting changes in Earth&#039;s oceans, atmosphere, and climate. It is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland and is a part of the Department of Commerce. NOAA conducts research and provides information, products, and services that are used to protect life and property, and to support economic growth and development. It also works to conserve and manage natural resources, including fisheries, wildlife, and habitats. Some of the specific activities that NOAA is involved in include weather forecasting, climate monitoring, marine biology and fisheries research, and satellite and remote sensing.</div>" data-gt-translate-attributes="[{"attribute":"data-cmtooltip", "format":"html"}]" tabindex ="0" function ="link" > NOAA‘sGreatLakesEnvironmentalResearchLaboratory( GLERL).Warmer winter season conditions in theGreatLakes area are adding to more regular low-ice years.

Great Lakes Ice Coverage 2024


The chart above programs ice protection for the2023– (********************************************************* )winter( red) relative to the past50 winter seasons.The warm start to the present ice season is shown in this line.Ordinarily, the very first cold air masses of the season relocation over the upper(********************************************************************************************************************** )in(********************************************************************************************************************************************************* )and start to cool the lake water.This“priming” did not take place inDecember of2023, resulting in the most affordableJanuary ice cover on record in2024 When an arctic chill remained over much of the U.S. in mid-January, ice cover grew to its most likely season optimum of about16 percent before dissipating when warmer temperature levels returned.

Climatic Influences on Ice Cover

Air temperature levels are highly associated with ice cover, stated Jia Wang, an ice climatologist at GLERL, and 4 patterns of environment irregularity impact temperature level over the GreatLakes This year, 3 of the 4 patterns put in a strong impact, statedWang “El Niño, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation simultaneously imposed warming to the Great Lakes.”

Environmental and Ecological Impacts

An lack of ice can make coastlines and facilities more vulnerable to harm from strong wind and waves. It can likewise leave some fish < period class =(************************************* )aria-describedby ="tt" data-cmtooltip ="<div class=glossaryItemTitle>species</div><div class=glossaryItemBody>A species is a group of living organisms that share a set of common characteristics and are able to breed and produce fertile offspring. The concept of a species is important in biology as it is used to classify and organize the diversity of life. There are different ways to define a species, but the most widely accepted one is the biological species concept, which defines a species as a group of organisms that can interbreed and produce viable offspring in nature. This definition is widely used in evolutionary biology and ecology to identify and classify living organisms.</div>" data-gt-translate-attributes="[{"attribute":"data-cmtooltip", "format":"html"}]" tabindex =(***************************************** )function ="link" > types without security from predators throughout generating season.In addition, an absence of ice cover might affect water levels by enabling more evaporation to happen.However, NOAA reported no considerable influence on water level since late February; lake and air temperature levels are comparable, keeping evaporation rates low.

Outlook for theRemainingSeason

TheGreat Lakes ice season goes throughMarch, and it is still possible for blasts of arctic air to reach the area and stimulate durations of ice development, according to NOAA specialists.However, those cold air occasions are most likely to be brief, and a significant shift in weather condition patterns would be needed for this season’s ice to break from its below-average pattern, they stated.

< period class ="glossaryLink" aria-describedby ="tt" data-cmtooltip ="<div class=glossaryItemTitle>NASA</div><div class=glossaryItemBody>Established in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Its vision is &quot;To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity.&quot; Its core values are &quot;safety, integrity, teamwork, excellence, and inclusion.&quot; NASA conducts research, develops technology and launches missions to explore and study Earth, the solar system, and the universe beyond. It also works to advance the state of knowledge in a wide range of scientific fields, including Earth and space science, planetary science, astrophysics, and heliophysics, and it collaborates with private companies and international partners to achieve its goals.</div>" data-gt-translate-attributes="[{"attribute":"data-cmtooltip", "format":"html"}]" tabindex ="0" function ="link" > NASAEarthObservatory images byMichalaGarrison andLaurenDauphin, utilizing VIIRS information from NASA EOSDIS LANCE, GIBS/Worldview, and theSuomiNationalPolar- orbiting Partnership, and lake ice information from NOAA– Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.