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

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

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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