A long and brutal winter has left Lake Superior frozen on the surface well into spring. According to Detroit News, the surface water over the deepest sections of Lake Superior are at least 6 degrees colder than normal.
This weather anomaly will delay the point at which heavy evaporation begins in Lake Superior, which will boost overall water levels. Up to 10 inches of water could accumulate inside Lake Superior by next spring, according to climatologist John Lenters of Limno Tech in Ann Arbor.
Lenters explained, “All else being equal, we’d expect to save maybe 10 inches of water on Lake Superior, but of course the big wild card in the water-level game is precipitation.” This means Lake Superior’s water level will partially depend on how much rain and snow falls during the coming season. Other Great Lakes are also expected to see an increase in water levels due to low temperatures left over from the harsh winter.
In the middle of that winter, the Inquisitrreported on the levels of ice on the Great Lakes, including Lake Superior. The surfaces of all the Great Lakes were 88 percent covered in ice by February, and it seems the largest of the lakes is still recovering.
According to Phys.org, the total ice coverage reached over 90 percent. In addition, seasonal snowfall records in the Detroit area were broken. Icebergs can still be spotted on Lake Superior, over a month after the lake is usually completely thawed.
John Lenters and his colleagues performed a study funded by the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center on Lake Superior’s evaporation to develop a map-based water-temperature forecasting tool called the Seasonal Lake Temperature Energetics model.
“It’s going to be the summer of fog,” explained Peter Blanken, an investigator from the University of Colorado. “[Lake Superior’s] water will stay really cold, but summer air tends to be warm and humid. And any time you get that combination, you’re going to have condensation and fog—basically evaporation in reverse.”
USA Today reported that the ice on Lake Superior may last all the way until July and provided an excerpt from the local newspaper, the Mining Journal, about the impact the ice has had on residents near the lake:
“To many area residents who suffered through one of the worst winters on record for the area, seeing the ice chunks on [Lake Superior] every day is a continuing reminder of that wintry grip of Mother Nature, which still has yet to completely loosen.”
The National Weather Service tweeted about the Lake Superior phenomenon yesterday, advising everyone to stay off the ice.
Lake Superior ice survived to June. It’s very dangerous to climb onto any remaining ice. pic.twitter.com/COjgfJeiqF
— NWS Marquette (@NWSMarquette) June 2, 2014
[Images courtesy of Phys.org]