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!
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!
A few readers shared Thursday that they’d rather I check my politics at the door and stick to the Michigan photo posting. 6 even unsubscribed, but since 8 more subscribed I guess it’s a wash.
I’ve run a lot of blogs and similar online projects, and I’ve seen what happens when they become places for people to fight about things. That’s not going to happen on Michigan in Pictures, and I want to make a couple of things clear, just so there’s no surprises.
- And this is #1 for a reason. I love Michigan. Love love love it. I’ve worked really hard on this site for 8 years for no financial gain, sharing and promoting and discovering Michigan. What I do gain is the satisfaction of learning more and seeing more of my state. My love of Michigan extends to a commitment to the preservation of Michigan’s water and environment, which I believe is critical to our state’s long-term economic health. I can’t and won’t separate this, so you’re going to have to deal with the occasional post about my thoughts on these matters.
- And this is really part 2 of #1: I love YOU. You follow Michigan in Pictures because you love Michigan and love learning about the same weird, fun, beautiful things that I do. You also appreciate the talented photographers who share pieces of the glorious whole of the Great Lakes State in the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Thank you for your support of my efforts and your support of all the photographers who trust their work to me.
- This is my personal blog. I’m glad that so many people enjoy it, and I try go out of my way to confront people. That said, I don’t do Michigan in Pictures for money, I do it for love and my own satisfaction. I find comments along the “Stick to posting pretty pictures of Michigan” insulting and offensive. I’ll be sticking to doing what I do, and if that’s a problem for you, there’s a big wide internet out there so please feel free to unsubscribe now.
Thanks, and have a wonderful weekend.
Laura let me post this photo she took of our cats, Monty & Acorn. It’s a personal favorite. Click to see it bigger on Instagram.
The photo above won the first photo contest on our new eatdrinkTC website. If you’re in the Traverse City area and enjoy snapping & sharing shots of food & drink, click that link for all the details on the current contest.
Michelle says that she heads to the farmers market every weekend to grab fresh veggies. On the weekend she took the winning photo, she was inspired by sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes), created two different soups (Sunchoke Potato and Jalapeno Kale & Spinach) and swirled them together to create this beautiful bowl of deliciousness. I’ve included the recipes below!