The Moon and the Vortex

July 12, 2014

Moon and the Ice Blob

The Moon and the Ice Blob, photo by Cherie

One of the cool things about having a Michigan photo group with nearly 200,000 photos to draw from is that I can find a photo for pretty much any post. Thanks all of you who share in the Absolute Michigan photo group!

Bruce McClure and Deborah Byrd have a nice feature on one of my favorite blogs EarthSky titled What is a Supermoon? It begins:

We in astronomy used to call them perigean new moons or perigean full moons, that is, new or full moons closely coinciding with perigee – the moon’s closest point to Earth in its orbit. But, in accordance with the rapidly evolving skylore of the modern world, we now enjoy calling them supermoons. The name supermoon was coined by an astrologer, Richard Nolle, over 30 years ago. It was popularized and came to be the accepted term for most people only in the past few years.

Are supermoons hype? In our opinion … gosh, no, just modern folklore. And they can cause real physical effects, such as larger-than-usual tides. The year 2014 has a total of five supermoons. They are the two new moons of January, and the full moons of July, August and September. Next supermoon: July 12.

Read on for more about tonight’s supermoon and supermoons in general.

Of course, the supermoon isn’t the only natural phenomenon enjoying hype this weekend, because our old friend the Polar Vortex is returning for an encore. Or not, according to Dr Jeff Masters of Weather Underground in the Freep:

It is not, however, the second coming of a polar vortex, something the National Weather Service says it regrets tweeting earlier this week.

Weather Underground meteorology director Jeff Masters says the weather pattern is similar to those dreaded words, but the key difference is that the chilly air mass isn’t coming directly from the arctic.

Masters says that Typhoon Neoguri in Japan altered the path of the jet stream and allowed polar air to spill out of Canada. That means next week’s temperatures will be as much as 15 degrees cooler than normal in the Midwest and could reach 90 in the normally temperate Pacific Northwest.

More at the Freep and also check out mLive meteorologist Mark Torregrossa’s take on the battle between El Nino and the Polar Vortex. He talks about El Nino’s chances to push the jet stream northward. If it’s not strong enough, winter 2015 could be ruled by the polar vortex again. Go El Nino, Go El Nino!

Cherie took this photo in February of 2009 on Belle Isle. See it bigger on Flickr and see more in her Belle Isle Slideshow.

More supermoons and more polar vortex on Michigan in Pictures!

Lake Michigan ... ice cave sunset

Lake Michigan … ice cave sunset, photo by Ken Scott

Last winter some incredible ice formations piled up off the coast of the Leelanau Peninsula, and the photographer on the scene was my friend & Michigan in Pictures regular Ken Scott. Ken has published a book, Ice Caves of Leelanau, that features some of his best shots and essays by noted Michigan author Jerry Dennis. Right now his books are mostly sold out (reprint coming in July) but you might be able to sweet talk one out of Ken – email him here.

If you’re in northwest Lower Michigan you can catch Ken’s talk on the ice caves tomorrow from 4-6 PM at the Leland Township Library.

View the photo bigger on Flickr and see more in his Lake Michigan Ice & Caves slideshow. You can also see some videos of the Ice Caves on Ken’s site!

Thankful for what we are blessed with here by oni_one

Thankful for what we are blessed with here…, photo by oni_one_

One of the neatest things for me about online photography and social media is how things come together in a synchronistic fashion sometimes. Yesterday, I posted a photo by Shawn Malone from above at Miners Castle of the frozen expanse of Lake Superior. For everyone who wondered what things were looking like at beach level, here you go!

Sarah took this pic yesterday at Miners Beach in the Pictured Rocks. View her photo bigger and see more on her Instagram.

Wintry Sunrise from Pictured Rocks by Lake Superior Photo

Wintry Sunrise from Pictured Rocks, photo by Lake Superior Photo

Normally ice would be gone or nearly gone from Superior and the other Great Lakes, but as the Freep reported:

Heading into May, the Great Lakes combined remain 26% ice-covered, with Lake Superior still more than half-blanketed in ice. By comparison, at this time last spring the lakes were less than 2% covered with ice.

The remaining levels of ice cover are amazing, said Jia Wang, an ice climatologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor.

“This prolonged winter will affect summer temperatures. This summer will be cold, and then a cooler fall,” he said.

In addition to wreaking havoc on the Great Lakes shipping industry and impacting fish and other aquatic species, the miles of ice cover serve as a vast, white reflector.

“All that sunlight that would normally heat up the water is just bouncing back up into space,” said Jay Austin, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s Large Lakes Observatory, who agrees with Wang about the ice cover’s impacts on this summer, but disagrees about its potential impacts on weather beyond that.

Read on for more. About the photo, Shawn of Lake Superior photo writes:

A wonderful wintry sunrise from Pictured Rocks this morning…. ok I’m going to go cry now

The lake was still (of course, with ice that’s feet thick as far as the eye can see..) but a new sound, you could hear the waterfalls, prob Miners Falls in the distance.. so cool

View Shawn’s photo big as our biggest lake on Facebook, see another shot of the wintry expanse from Miner’s Castle and definitely follow her photos as “spring” unfolds in the North Country at the Lake Superior Photo Facebook along with 30,000+ others and purchase photos at lakesuperiorphoto.com!

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.

Rick-Snyder-announces-Pure-Snow

APRIL 1, 2014 - LANSING, MI Governor Rick Snyder traveled to Ishpeming in the Upper Peninsula to announce to a crowd of media, dignitaries and frozen-in-place Michiganders that effective immediately, the “Pure Michigan” tourism campaign will be re-branded as “Pure Snow”.

“Who are we kidding?” Gov. Snyder asked. “Winter 2014 was like something out of the latest Thor movie (which coincidentally cost less to make than this year’s snow plowing bill). Pure Michigan has served the state well for years, but even though it looks like we’re in the clear now - in another six months, it’s back to winter again!”

The state’s $8.4 million dollar re-branding effort will seek to market travel by snowmobilers, skiers and “people without a brain in their head.” The State rock will now be “ice”, the State capital will now be Pellston, the “Ice Box of the North”, the State motto will be “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, what the heck are you doing here?” and the State animal will now be “frozen in a snowdrift”.

 

 

Thawing

March 29, 2014

Thawing

Thawing, photo by Jennifer Bruce

A crack in the armor. Down with winter!

View Jennifer’s photo bigger and see more of her Torch Lake photos on Flickr.

Coast Guard cutters pass through Soo Locks

Coast Guard cutters pass through Soo Locks, photo by Coast Guard News

Although the Soo Locks opened yesterday, UpNorthLive reports that for the first time in 20 years no ships passed through. Click through for a video story that includes footage from the Locks and an interview with Soo Locks Lock Master Tom Soeltner.

About the photo, the Coast Guard News writes:

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw steers the cutter through the fog as it passed through the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., March 21, 2014. The Mackinaw along with the Coast Guard Cutters Morro Bay and Katmai Bay passed through the locks together en route to breaking ice in the St. Marys River and Lake Superior in preparation of the scheduled opening of the Locks, March 25. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Levi Read.

View Levi’s photo background bigtacular and see more at the Coast Guard News’ Soo Locks tag.

There’s more boats and more Sault Ste. Marie, and if you’re interested in the Icebreaker Mackinac and other icebreakers, Michigan in Pictures has that too!

I guess it really IS spring . . .

I guess it really IS spring…, phoot by Dr. Farnsworth

Thing number 757 about Michigan that I think is cool: you can ride bikes on lakes.

Dale writes:

…AHH Spring, when a young man’s fancy turns towards . . . riding around the lake ON the lake! Still very much frozen solid in western Michigan! Temps tonight well below freezing, a few inches of snow predicted, and people are riding on the ice on fat bikes! Have a good “spring” week Facebook and Flickr friends!

View his photo from Twin Lakes on his map, background big and see more in massive Best of West Lake slideshow.

More winter wallpaper and more biking on Michigan in Pictures.

Push Up

Push Up, photo by Michael in A2

Michigan Gardener’s plant focus on Snowdrops begins:

The very first bulb to cheerfully announce spring is the snowdrop. As the last winter snow melts, carpets of delicate white flowers emerge through last year’s fallen leaves. Snowdrops will reliably return year after year despite Mother Nature’s most challenging winters. The botanical name, Galanthus, comes from the Greek words Gala meaning “milk” and anthos meaning “flower.” They will thrive in the rich, moist soil usually found in the shade provided by deciduous trees. Few bulbs can tolerate shade, but snowdrops develop in the winter sun well before the leaves of trees and shrubs have expanded. Their flowers last for several weeks beginning in early March and persisting through the cool days of spring in early April. Once planted, Galanthus require no maintenance.

Read on at Michigan Gardener and bring on the spring!

View Michael’s photo background big and see more in his 2014: Flowers slideshow.

More flowers and more spring wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures.

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