Lake-Michigan-Waterspout Muskegon Beach

Waterspout at Muskegon State Park, photo by Joe Gee Photography

Summer of 2015 has definitely featured some wild weather. Photographer Joe Gee captured this dramatic photo last Monday at Muskegon State Park. mLive featured Joe’s waterspout photo along with an explanation of the phenomenon by meteorologist Mark Torregrossa:

This is the waterspout season on the Great Lakes, but tonight’s waterspout did not occur in the classic waterspout weather pattern.

Waterspouts form mostly due to a large temperature difference between the water surface and the air a few thousand feet above. So the classic waterspout weather pattern would have a large, cold upper level storm system moving over the Great Lakes. That storm system is still well to our west, and won’t pass through until Wednesday.

This waterspout still most likely formed due to a temperature difference between the water and the air. The cold air aloft wasn’t really detectable because it was so isolated.

The other weather feature probably contributing to the development of this waterspout was a lake breeze or even possibly an “outflow boundary” from another storm. The lake breeze blows a different wind direction into the storm and can cause additional rotation. An outflow boundary coming off another thunderstorm can do the same thing.

So this waterspout is a less threatening rotation as compared to a tornado. Usually these waterspouts dissipate before they come onshore.

This time of year is the typical time for waterspouts because of two weather features. First, the Great Lakes water temperatures are usually warmest right now. Secondly, we have to mention the word fall. Cooler, fall-like air starts to move in at this time of year. The temperature difference is largest now through September.

You can purchase a print right here and follow Joe and his work at joegeephotography.com and on Facebook.

More wild weather on Michigan in Pictures!

Wolf on Isle Royale

Alpha Male, photo by Rolf Peterson/Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale

The National Park Service has opened a formal public comment period that will close on August 29, 2015 regarding future management options for wolves in Isle Royale National Park. The wolf population has plummeted because of a lack of gene flow from the mainland and park management is considering an array of options. If you have commented before, do it again as anything preceding the current comment period is now considered informal input and won’t be considered further.

Moose have important effects on island vegetation, including forest cover, and wolves are the only moose predator on the island. The wolf population on Isle Royale is very low. With their long-term survival on the island in question, the moose population is likely to increase in the short term (5-10 years), which could result in impacts to vegetation and forest cover because of over-browsing.The six plan options they lay out in this PDF are:

  1. No-action alternative: Current management would continue; the park would not actively manage vegetation or the moose and wolf populations
  2. Introduce wolves once: Reestablish wolves on the island by bringing in new wolves one time to mimic a migration event; no moose management
  3. Maintain both species: Maintain populations of moose and wolves on the island, which could include wolf reintroduction or augmentation
  4. Introduce wolves once and reduce the moose population: Reestablish wolves on the island by bringing in new wolves one time; reduce moose density if/when the wolf population is no longer impacting the moose population and moose herbivory is having a demonstrated impact on park resources
  5. Reduce moose population: No wolf reintroduction or augmentation; reduce moose density if/when the wolf population is no longer impacting the moose population and moose herbivory is having a demonstrated impact on park resources
  6. Intensively manage the moose population: No wolf reintroduction or augmentation; intensively manage moose population to a low level; potential for direct vegetation restoration through seed gathering and planting on offshore islands

Click over for more and to comment.

The Wolf Moose Project on Isle Royale is the longest continuous study of any predator-prey system in the world. Rolf Peterson began leading the wolf moose project in the early 1970s, and remains a world authority on wolves and moose. About this photo he says:

It was a remote camera photo that I set up. It shows the alpha male in the Chippewa Harbor Pack in 2009, revisiting the remains of a moose the pack killed in the adjacent pond the previous autumn.  The wolves managed to yank the remains out of the pond the next summer and consume the rotting carcass.

You can view this photo background bigtacular and follow the Wolves & Moose of Isle Royale on Facebook for updates.

More wolves on Michigan in Pictures.

Sea Cave on Superior

August 15, 2015

Sea Cave by Craig

Sea Cave on Lake Superior, photo by Craig

The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore geology page says (in part) that:

During the Nipissing “high stand,” Chapel Rock and Miners Castle as well as many less prominent features (such as perched sea caves near Little Beaver Lake Campground) were carved into the Cambrian sandstone by wave action.

Quite the whittling job by Gitche Gumee!

View Craig’s photo bigger on his Facebook page and see more jaw-dropping Lake Superior pics on Craig’s Flickr.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Promising Start

August 8, 2015

Promising Start

Promising Start, photo by Heather Higham

Heather writes:

Hard to believe that a raging storm tore through just hours after this idyllic morning in the dunes. But this is from the same day (Sunday) as the monster winds that uprooted and snapped countless large trees…

View her photo bigger, see more in her Sleeping Bear Dunes slideshow and follow her at Snap Happy Gal Photography on Facebook.

PS: I’ve been posting lots of updates from the storm on my Leelanau.com Facebook.

Tahquamenon Falls Thursday

Tahquamenon Falls, photo by Charles Bohnam

The Tahquamenon Falls State Park page says:

Tahquamenon Falls State Park encompasses close to 50,000 acres stretching over 13 miles. Most of this is undeveloped woodland without roads, buildings or power lines. The centerpiece of the park, and the very reason for its existence, is the Tahquamenon River with its waterfalls. The Upper Falls is one the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. It has a drop of nearly 50 feet and is more than 200 feet across. A maximum flow of more than 50,000 gallons of water per second has been recorded cascading over these falls. Four miles downstream is the Lower Falls, a series of five smaller falls cascading around an island. Although not as dramatic as the Upper Falls, they are equally magnificent. The falls can be viewed from the river bank or from the island, which can be reached by rowboat rented from a park concession. The island walk affords a view of the falls in the south channel.

This is the land of Longfellow’s Hiawatha – “by the rushing Tahquamenaw” Hiawatha built his canoe. Long before the white man set eyes on the river, the abundance of fish in its waters and animals along its shores attracted the Ojibwa Indians, who camped, farmed, fished and trapped along its banks. In the late 1800’s came the lumber barons and the river carried their logs by the millions to the mills. Lumberjacks, who harvested the tall timber, were among the first permanent white settlers in the area.

Rising from springs north of McMillan, the Tahquamenon River drains the watershed of an area of more than 790 square miles. From its source, it meanders 94 miles before emptying into Whitefish Bay. The amber color of the water is caused by tannins leached from the Cedar, Spruce and Hemlock in the swamps drained by the river. The extremely soft water churned by the action of the falls causes the large amounts of foam, which has been the trademark of the Tahquamenon since the days of the voyager.

Click through for maps, photos & more.

View Charles’s photo background bigtacular (really – do it!) and click more of his waterfall photos.

Lots more Tahquamenon Falls on Michigan in Pictures and (just found it) waterfall wallpaper. :)

 

Superior Flight

August 1, 2015

Superior Flight

Superior Flight, photo by Cory Genovese

Cory writes:

Have a Yoop-tastic weekend and be sure to get your Superior flight on ;)

I’ve got an amen for that!

View cory’s photo bigger, see more in his Yoop Life slideshow and definitely follow him at PhotoYoop on Facebook!

Spray Falls in the Pictured Rocks

Spray Falls, photo by David Juckett

Go Waterfalling’s page on Spray Falls begins:

Spray Falls is the remotest, and perhaps the most impressive of the several waterfalls in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The 70′ waterfall plunges over the cliffs at Pictured Rocks and lands directly in Lake Superior.

The falls is right on the edge of the cliffs, and the creek has not cut back into the cliffs at all, so it is impossible to view the falls from the front unless you are on the water. The cliffs are sheer for miles in both directions, so there is no way to get near the base of the falls without a watercraft. Lake Superior is too cold for swimming. :)

The Lakeshore Trail passes right over the top of the falls, and you can get right to the brink of the falls. Be careful because the cliffs are undercut and unsafe in many places. About 1/4 mile east of the falls there is a safe lookout point from which you can get a nice, but distant, side view of the falls. There is a sign marking the lookout.

Read on for more including tips on hiking in and photos from the top. You can get views like this on the Pictured Rocks Cruises.

View David’s photo background bigtacular and jump into his slideshow for more great views of the Pictured Rocks!

More summer wallpaper and more Michigan waterfalls on Michigan in Pictures.

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