Menominee Ice Shoves

April 19, 2014

Everyone came out to see the ice shoves

Everyone came out to see the ice shoves, photo by Ann Fisher

While much of the state is enjoying springlike weather, folks in northern Michigan and the UP are still going toe to toe with a winter that will not quit. In solidarity, here’s one more wintry shot.

It comes from Ann Fisher in Menominee and shows the large “ice shoves” or “ice push” that came off Lake Michigan last Sunday. In Ice Shove: Giant Ice Slabs Invade Great Lakes Shorelines, Jon Erdman of the Weather Channel explains:

An ice shove is a rapid push of free-floating lake or sea ice onshore by wind. Strong winds from the same direction over, say, a 12 to 24 hour period, are enough to drive large chunks and plates of ice ashore.

The initial slabs or blocks of ice will slow down momentarily when reaching land, creating a traffic jam of ice piling behind and on top. The result is a massive ice pile often over 10 feet high, surging ashore in a matter of minutes, surrounding and damaging everything in their path, including trees, sod, fences, and homes.

Read on at Weather.com for more including the much bigger ice shoves in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and a look at the most widespread ice coverage on record for mid-April - over 39% of the Great Lakes! You can see some more photos from Fox6 in Menominee and if you head over to Absolute Michigan, you can look back to March of 2009 and some a CNN video of the crazy massive ice shoves on Saginaw Bay.

View Ann’s photo background big and see more in her Ice slideshow.

More ice on Michigan in Pictures.

Iced Over

March 19, 2014

Iced Over

Iced Over, photo by karstenphoto

Stephen shot this photo on Lake Michigan on February 26th using Fujifilm Velvia 100. View it background bigtacular and see more in his winter slideshow.

More film photography and more winter wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

Running Out of Ice

March 14, 2014

Running Out of Ice

Running Out of Ice, photo by Aaron Springer

Probably wishful thinking, but I’m guessing that’s better than wishless thinking. Enjoy your weekend everyone!

View Aaron’s photo bigger and see more in his Northern Michigan slideshow.

DN hiking it, Elk Lake- Elk Rapids, Michigan

DN hiking it, Elk Lake- Elk Rapids, Michigan, photo by rickrjw

Last night I learned from my iceboating friend Andy that the 2014 Central Regional DN Iceboating Championship will be held this Saturday & Sunday (March 15-16, 2014) on West Grand Traverse Bay. The primary launch site will be the DNR launch at Hilltop Rd. and M-22, approximately 9 miles north of Traverse City and 5 miles south of Suttons Bay on the Leelanau Peninsula. More details at DNA America.

Wikipedia explains that the International DN is a class of ice boat:

The name stands for Detroit News, where the first iceboat of this type was designed and built in the winter of 1936-1937. Archie Arrol was a master craftsman working in the Detroit News hobby shop, and together with iceboaters Joe Lodge and Norman Jarrait designed a racing boat they called the “Blue Streak 60″, later to become known as the “DN 60″. In 1937 a group of 50 laymen worked with Archie in the hobby shop to produce the first fleet of the new iceboats. These first boats broke during the initial season, and after Norm and Joe modified the design to increase the strength, the group got back together to build a second set of iceboats in 1938.

This design, featuring a narrow, single-person cockpit, three steel blades in tricycle style arrangement and a steeply raked mast, remains to this day the most popular ice boat design in use.

…The class has a devout following. The International DN Ice Yacht Racing Association (IDNIYRA) is the governing body for the class. It publishes standards for boat design and allows enthusiasts to assemble for races and to share good ice locations. The DN is raced extensively in the northern United States, Canada, and throughout Northern Europe, with World Championships alternating between North American and Europe each year.

One of the reasons that the DN Ice Boat Class has become so popular over the years has been largely in part to how transportable and fast they truly are. With a steady 10-12 mile per hour wind and good ice conditions, the DN, when piloted properly, can reach speeds in excess of 50 miles per hour. And with just a 12-15 mile per hour steady wind, the DN ice boat can reach a readily attainable 55–65 miles per hour, providing a thrilling rush of purely unadulterated bone chilling wind powered ice sailing.

Rick took this photo of a DN on Elk Lake almost exactly 5 years ago, and March is prime season for ice boating in Michigan due to typical snow melts that lay the thickest ice of the year bare. GT Bay is nearly in my front yard and I can assure you that the ice is thick and almost like glass this year! View his photo bigger and see lots more in his Iceboating slideshow.

More ice boating on Michigan in Pictures including one of my favorite videos, Ice Boat vs Chevy!

Summer Dreams

March 8, 2014

Summer Dreams

Summer Dreams, photo by Miss Sydney Marie

Anyone else dreaming of summer?

View Sydney’s photo bigger and see more in her For Sale slideshow and on her website.

More from Michigan’s beaches.

Ice Everywhere

So much ice, everywhere, photo by caterleelanau

At night, as cold settles in, lake ice creaks and groans. It’s been excessively cold, and I camped exposed on the snow-swept surface. Other than the lack of vegetation and the sounds at night, you’d never know you were on a lake. It feels like an empty plain. In some places, you see pressure ridges where ice has pushed into itself, sticking up like clear blue stegosaurus plates.
~ Author Craig Childs on Lake Superior

From the latest satellite photo, it looks like Lake Huron is 100% frozen with Superior & Erie 95% and Michigan somewhere in the 85% area. Ontario is looking like the slacker right now, and you can follow along and see daily satellite shots from NOAA.

The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center provided the quotation above and reported on the Great Freeze Over the Great Lakes saying (in part):

Scientists say it’s understandable that the Great Lakes have had so much ice this year considering the cold temperatures in the region that persisted through the winter. Cold air temperatures remove heat from the water until it reaches the freezing point, at which point ice begins to form on the surface, explained Nathan Kurtz, cryospheric scientist NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

“Persistently low temperatures across the Great Lakes region are responsible for the increased areal coverage of the ice,” Kurtz said. “Low temperatures are also the dominant mechanism for thickening the ice, while secondary factors like clouds, snow, and wind also play a role.”

The freeze this year has local implications, including possible changes to snowfall amounts in the Great Lakes area, explained Walt Meier, also a cryospheric scientist at NASA Goddard. When the lakes are primarily open water, cold air picks up moisture from the relatively warm and moist lake water, often resulting in lake effect snow on the lee side of the lakes, on the eastern and southern shores. When the lakes freeze, the lake effect generally shuts down. “Although this year, they’re still picking up a fair amount of snow,” Meier said.

Lake levels could also see an impact by summer, as winter ice cover generally reduces the amount of water available to evaporate during winter months. If that turns out to be the case, it would be “good news for local water supplies, as well as for shipping and recreational use,” Meier said.

A 2012 study in the Journal of Climate by scientists at NOAA’s Great Lakes lab, which included data from MODIS, found that winter season ice cover on Lake Superior has decreased 79 percent from 1973 to 2010. The study also showed that ice cover on the lakes is highly variable and difficult to predict.

Today’s photo was taken on frozen Lake Michigan off the Leelanau shore by my friend and neighbor Cammie, co-owner of Epicure Catering. You can follow her at caterleelanau on Instagram for lots of wintertime fun and summertime food!

More ice on Michigan in Pictures!

Climate Hope

February 27, 2014

Beth-Wallace-Climate-Hope

Beth Wallace KXL Pipeline Protest, photo courtesy Beth Wallace/Climate Hope

I tend to keep my advocacy to myself on Michigan in Pictures, but when a friend shared the Climate Hope tumblr with me last week, I felt compelled to share it with you.

Michigan for me is defined by our water. On the heels of the disastrous million gallon oil spill on the Kalamazoo River, I feel that Michiganders have a sacred duty to protect our water today and for future generations. Climate Hope is submitting pictures shared with them as public comment by the March 7, 2014 deadline.

You can see more photo messages on Climate Hope and (if you’re so inclined) share one with them at climatehopecomments@gmail.com. If you’d like to comment directly on the Keystone pipeline, head over to www.regulations.gov.

More about the corrosive beast that is tar sands oil via the Natural Resources Defense Council.

 

The Ice Caves of Leelanau

February 17, 2014

IMPORTANT SAFETY UPDATE! The Leelanau County Sheriff’s Department has declared the ice caves on Lake Michigan unsafe!! The winds have moved the ice and there is now open water within feet of the caves, and the strong winds expected today and tomorrow will continue to push water and ice inland. There are also large cracks in the arches and they are expected to start collapsing soon.

Lake Michigan ... ice cave sunset II

Lake Michigan … ice cave sunset II, photo by Ken Scott

Ken Scott took a trip out to the massive ice caves off the shore of the Leelanau Peninsula near Traverse City. You can see a fantastic video of his explorations and should definitely take a minute to watch his cautionary video showing the cracks that can form in these massive structures. There are few things less forgiving than the Great Lakes in winter, and with temps forecast in the upper 30s for tomorrow, things could get very dangerous.

View Ken’s photo bigger and see more in his Ice Cave slideshow.

Although ice caves and similar formations form every winter on Michigan’s shoreline, these ones are particularly incredible due to the greater than normal mass of ice generating more force. They have made it all the way to national news and have drawn thousands of visitors. A couple more features are at Huffington Post, another nice YouTube video showing the structures and the crowds and this mLive article with directions.

So cold the ice is blue

February 15, 2014

Blue Ice

Blue Ice, photo by HLHigham

You may have seen one or more of these incredible ice photos making the email round as Lake Michigan or Lake Huron ice. The Snopes.com article above says that they and many more were taken Antarctic base of Dumont D’Urville by Tony Travouillon in 2002. A shout-out to TC weatherman Joe Charlevoix who posted a story earlier in the week debunking the hoax!

While we don’t have that level of brilliant blue, our ice does get bluish. Via Shawn Malone at the Earth Science Picture of the Day, I found an informative article by Larry Gedney about blue ice & snow that says:

It is a common misconception that the blue color exhibited by glaciers, old sea ice, or even holes poked into a snow bank is due to the same phenomenon that makes the sky blue–light scattering. But nature has more than one recipe for producing the color blue. In frozen water and in the sky the processes are almost the reverse of each other.

A blue sky results when light bounces off molecules and small dust particles in the atmosphere. Because blue light scatters more than red does, the sky looks blue except in the direction of the sun (particularly when the sun is near the horizon and the blue light is scattered out of the sunlight, leaving the red color of sunrises and sunsets).

When light passes through ice, however, the red light is absorbed while the blue is transmitted. Were the operating process scattering as in the atmosphere, then the transmitted light would be red, not blue. However, because of the large size of snow grains and ice crystals, all wavelengths of visible light are scattered equally. Scattering therefore does not play an appreciable role in determining the color of the transmitted light.

It takes an appreciable thickness of pure ice to absorb enough red light so that only the blue is transmitted. You can see the effect in snow at fairly shallow depths because the light is bounced around repeatedly between ice grains, losing a little red at each bounce. You can even see a gradation of color within a hole poked in clean, deep snow. Near the opening, the transmitted light will be yellowish. As the depth increases, the corer will pass through yellowish-green, greenish-blue and finally vivid blue. If the hole is deep enough, the color and light disappear completely when all the light is absorbed.

The color of ice can be used to estimate its strength and even how long it has been frozen. Arctic Ocean ice is white during its first year because it is full of bubbles. Light will travel only a short distance before it is scattered by the bubbles and reflected back out. As a result, little absorption occurs, and the light leaves with the same color it had when it went in.

There’s more (lots more) on water, snow & ice from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

Heather took this photo at Point Betsie last weekend. View it bigger and see more in her Winter slideshow.

More science on Michigan in Pictures and speaking of ice, check out the ice caves off the Leelanau Peninsula in this mLive feature & video.

Leland & Lake Michigan by Elijah Allen

Drone over Leelanau (at Leland), photo by Elijah Allen

Mark Torregrossa writes at mLive that the Great Lakes are nearly 90% ice-covered:

The total ice cover on the Great Lakes continued to increase in the past seven days. At the rate the ice is growing, ice cover would reach record levels sometime next week.

We also had a mostly clear day Tuesday February 11, 2014. The high resolution satellite was able to generate some fascinating images.

The total ice cover on the entire Great Lakes system is reported at 87.3 percent today, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory(GLERL). The ice cover is up from 77 percent covered seven days ago.

The highest recorded total ice cover on the Great Lakes is 94.7 percent back on February 19, 1979. It should be emphasized that the most modern data set only goes back to 1973.

So the entire Great Lakes system has gone from 77 percent ice covered last week to 87 percent ice covered today. At that rate of increase, the Great Lakes would set a new modern day record for ice cover sometime next week.

Click through to mLive for a Lake by Lake report on ice cover and some sweet satellite shots.

My friend Elijah has been having entirely too much fun in and above the snow this winter. Lately he’s been flying a drone above the Leelanau Peninsula to see what he can see. View his photo bigger and (if you can) see more in his Drone over Leelanau Facebook gallery.

More aerial photography on Michigan in Pictures!

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