Share

Stubborn, Solid Ice: Great Lakes Set Late-Season Record (ANIMATION)

By Jess Baker
Published: March 18, 2014
Great Lakes Ice Cover

Animation traces the amount of ice coverage on the Great Lakes since mid-February.

Winter is keeping a tight grip on the Great Lakes. March 2014 has set a new record high for the amount of ice cover this late in the season.

According to NOAA, 82.8 percent of the Great Lakes were still covered in ice as of March 17. That's the highest mark for this late in the season more than 35 years, surpassing the previous mid-March high of 75.85 percent set on March 15, 1978.

(MORE: When Will Spring Arrive?)

This winter was already second in the record books for the most amount of ice ever recorded on the Great Lakes.

"According to analysis by NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (NOAA/GLERL), ice cover peaked at 92.2 percent of the Great Lakes on March 6," weather.com meteorologist Jon Erdman said. "In records dating to 1973, only February 1979 (94.7 percent peak) had more ice.

Despite Thursday's official start to spring, the ice isn't likely to melt quickly. Meteorologists say this stubborn cold pattern, which is partially responsible for at least 22 named winter storms so far, doesn't appear to be letting go in the near future.

"With a high probability of colder-than-average temperature across the Great Lakes next week according to the Climate Prediction Center, it appears the melting will continue to be slower than what we would typically expect this late in the season," weather.com meteorologist Chris Dolce explains.

(FORECAST: Unusually Cold Start to Spring)

The brutal winter has had some benefits. People from around the world have come to hike to Lake Superior's spectacular ice caves at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, which are only accessible during the coldest winters.

MORE: The Frozen Great Lakes

Ice covers the shoreline of Lake Michigan on Feb. 18, 2014 in Chicago, Ill. This winter’s prolonged cold weather has caused more than 88 percent of the Great Lakes to be covered in ice which is near the record of 95 percent set in Feb. 1979. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)


Featured Blogs

Invest 92L Retired From List of Tropical Disturbances

By Dr. Jeff Masters
April 1, 2015

The first ten days of April could produce more severe weather than the modest amount racked up so far across the U.S. in 2015, as a major circulation change takes place over North America.

Possible New Continental Heat Record for Antarctica

By Christopher C. Burt
March 26, 2015

On March 24th Base Esperanza (under Argentinean administration) located near the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula reported a temperature of 17.5°C (63.5°F). Although this is the warmest temperature ever measured since weather stations became established on the southern continent, it is complicated by what the very definition of ‘Antarctica’ is. Here’s a brief review.

Devastating Drought Conditions and Annoying People

By Shaun Tanner
February 4, 2015

The drought in California has been pretty devastating and at least some of the people of California seem to be happy about it.

Meteorological images of the year - 2014

By Stu Ostro
December 30, 2014

My 9th annual edition.

2013-14 - An Interesting Winter From A to Z

By Tom Niziol
May 15, 2014

It was a very interesting winter across a good part of the nation from the Rockies through the Plains to the Northeast. Let's break down the most significant winter storms on a month by month basis.

What the 5th IPCC Assessment Doesn't Include

By Angela Fritz
September 27, 2013

Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.