Ice Cave Sunset by Heather Higham
mLive reports that a La Niña weather system has officially developed & is likely to continue through winter:
La Niña is when the equatorial Pacific waters turn cooler than normal. If the cooler than normal water continues into the northern hemisphere winter, there can be some alteration to normal jetstream patterns.
…an average jetstream position south of Michigan with the center of an upper-level through over the Great Lakes brings an area of wetter than normal conditions to the Ohio Valley and southern Great Lakes. This area of wetter weather includes the southern part of Michigan.
So in looking at the general effects of La Niña on Michigan’s winter, we have in the past leaned toward colder than normal with some increase in snow amounts.
…Lower Michigan as averaging four to 12 inches above normal on snowfall during La Niña winters. The western half of the U.P. also shows a slightly above normal snowfall pattern during La Niña. The lake-effect snowbelts of northwest and southwest Lower don’t show an increase in snow, but do show normal amounts. Normal amounts of snow in the snowbelts is plenty of snow for snow-lovers.
More at mLive.
Heather took this shot of an ice formation on Lake Michigan at Elk Rapids back in January of 2015. See more in her ice formations gallery & definitely follow Heather on Facebook & @SnapHappyMichigan on Instagram!
More ice caves on Michigan in Pictures! <–trust me – some more awesome pics there!
Bay City Blue Ice, photo by Great Lakes Drone Works
Great Lakes Drone Works captured some awesome shots from the ice on Saginaw Bay near Bay City. They write:
We made our way out to Bay City State Park to capture some images of these huge chunks of ice. At first we were hoping drone photos would be the way to go but after walking around and getting up close, it was clear that ground photography was the better option.
Blue ice occurs when weather conditions — such as a lack of high winds — allow water to freeze slowly and evenly, resulting in ice composed of large crystals (unlike snow, which is formed quickly and made up of small crystals).
When light hits these big ice crystals, it can travel deep into the structures (compare this to snow, wherein light hits a sharp edge and reflects off of it right away, resulting in blinding white). When the light travels deeper into slowly formed ice, some of the red wavelengths of sunlight — which is the longest wavelength of visible light — get absorbed into the ice structure.
The blue, which is the shortest wavelength of visible light, bounces back out, meet our eyes, and results in a deep aqua color.
Head over to their Facebook for more shots and get lots more icy goodness at the ice tag on Michigan in Pictures!
Green Blue Ice, photo by Charles Bonham
Apparently Charles is my go-to photographer for ice colors as his picture was used for my post about what makes ice blue or green a couple years ago on Michigan in Pictures. Then as now, I went to The Causes of Color to answer the question: What causes the blue color that sometimes appears in snow and ice?
As with water, this color is caused by the absorption of both red and yellow light (leaving light at the blue end of the visible light spectrum). The absorption spectrum of ice is similar to that of water, except that hydrogen bonding causes all peaks to shift to lower energy – making the color greener. This effect is augmented by scattering within snow, which causes the light to travel an indirect path, providing more opportunity for absorption. From the surface, snow and ice present a uniformly white face. This is because almost all of the visible light striking the snow or ice surface is reflected back, without any preference for a single color within the visible spectrum.
The situation is different for light that is not reflected, but penetrates or is transmitted into the snow. As this light travels into the snow or ice, the ice grains scatter a large amount of light. If the light is to travel over any distance it must survive many such scattering events. In other words, it must keep scattering and not be absorbed. We usually see the light coming back from the near surface layers (less than 1 cm) after it has been scattered or bounced off other snow grains only a few times, and it still appears white.
In simplest of terms, think of the ice or snow layer as a filter. If it is only a centimeter thick, all the light makes it through; if it is a meter thick, mostly blue light makes it through. This is similar to the way coffee often appears light when poured, but much darker when it is in a cup.
Click through for lots more about light & color!
Charles took this photo last week on Sand Point near Munising. Check it out bigger and head over to his Flickr page for a bunch more great shots of winter in the Upper Peninsula!
More winter wallpaper and more amazing ice on Michigan in Pictures.
Ice Cave Evening, photo by Mark Miller
via leelanau.com who write:
It’s a frosty 3 degrees in Leland with winds whipping powdery snow around and more single digits & high winds driving wind chills far below zero coming over the next couple of days. That’s not optimal for driving, and schools across the county are cancelled. It could, however, bring to life ice formations & caves on Leelanau’s western shore like we’ve seen several times in recent years.
They’ve got past ice cave articles and will be posting updates right here! The Freep reports that Michigan is bracing for potentially record-breaking cold this week:
A polar vortex is forecast to batter the Great Lakes and Midwest regions Tuesday through Thursday, with the lowest temperatures set to occur Wednesday. Some areas of Lower Michigan could face wind chills as low as 45 degrees below zero, according to the National Weather Service.
That would mark the most bitter cold in years for the region.
…The polar vortex is the large area of cold air and low pressure near each of the Earth’s poles. The air flows counter-clockwise near each of the poles, hence “vortex.”
“Many times during winter in the northern hemisphere, the polar vortex will expand, sending cold air southward with the jet stream,” the NWS explains.
Mark took this back in Mark of 2014. View the photo bigger and see more awesome shots in his Northern Michigan winters photo album.
The Narrows, photo by Mark Smith
“The Narrows” refers to the narrow section between North & South Lake Leelanau between these two joined lakes. The bridge that Mark was standing on yesterday morning to take this stunning photo of the hoarfrost before it burned off was originally constructed in 1864, shortly after the founding of the village of Provemont (now Lake Leelanau) by French Canadian farmers.
We’re looking toward North Lake Leelanau in Mark’s photo. Check it out background bigtacular and follow him on Flickr for more!
PS: This post about hoar frost on Michigan in Pictures has an incredible shot of some willows. The photographer explained:
Hoar Frost (also called radiation frost or hoarfrost or pruina) refers to the white ice crystals, loosely deposited on the ground or exposed objects, that form on cold clear nights when heat is lost into the open sky causing objects to become colder than the surrounding air. A related effect is flood frost or frost pocket which occurs when air cooled by ground-level radiation losses travels downhill to form pockets of very cold air in depressions, valleys, and hollows. Hoar Frost can form in these areas even when the air temperature a few feet above ground is well above freezing. Nonetheless the frost itself will be at or below the freezing temperature of water.
Hoar Frost may have different names depending on where it forms. For example, air hoar is a deposit of hoar frost on objects above the surface, such as tree branches, plant stems, wires; surface hoar is formed by fern-like ice crystals directly deposited on snow, ice or already frozen surfaces; crevasse hoar consists of crystals that form in glacial crevasses where water vapor can accumulate under calm weather conditions; depth hoar refers to cup shaped, faceted crystals formed within dry snow, beneath the surface.
Winter Solstice by Scott Glenn
Happy Solstice everyone!
Scott took this photo just after sunset on the winter solstice in 2016 at the St. Joseph Lighthouse!
See the photo bigger and see many more in Scott’s Lighthouses gallery on Flickr!
Also check out more winter solstice & St Joseph Lighthouse pics on Michigan in Pictures!
A Long Way Down, photo by Mark Smith
This stunning shot from the Leelanau Conservancy’s Clay Cliffs Natural Area was taken by Mark Smith.
He’s been a big contributor of photos to Michigan in Pictures and we’re wishing him a very happy birthday today and hoping Santa brings him all the photography gear his heart desires!!
See some of Mark’s best on Michigan in Pictures.
Check this out background bigtacular and see tons more shots by Mark on Flickr!
an oldie but a goodie for #TBT!
Above is a portrait of Elsie Schuenemann at the wheel of the Christmas Ship, near the Clark Street Bridge on the Chicago River in the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois. The boat carried Christmas trees to Chicago from Michigan. Her father, Captain H. Schuenemann, died when the Rouse Simmons, a ship carrying Christmas trees, sank in 1912.
The trees behind her likely came from the woods of Escanaba. Though the story of Barbara Schuenemann and her three daughters carrying on the tradition of the Christmas Tree Ships has perhaps been a little over-romanticized, there can be little doubt that the Schuenemann family and the many others who participated in the difficult trade of hauling Christmas trees south as the storms of winter closed in were heroes cut from a cloth that isn’t found too often today.
If you’d like to read more about all the Christmas tree ships (there were many more than just the famous Rouse Simmons) I recommend Christmas Tree Ships from Fred Neuschel. He has also written a book called Lives and Legends of the Christmas Tree Ships (available from UM Press). The National Archive also has The Christmas Tree Ship: Captain Herman E. Schuenemann and the Schooner Rouse Simmons that details the Schuenemann’s story.
You can also see Rich Evenhouse’s cool video of diving the Rouse Simmons.
Approaching Storm by Charles Bonham
Charles caught this shot of another photographer shooting the famous 1225 Polar Express, The 1225 is housed at the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso where every year it takes folks on North Pole Express rides during the holiday season. Wikipedia has the story of how the Pere Marquette 1225 locomotive became the Polar Express:
Retired from service in 1951, 1225 was sent to scrap, in New Buffalo, Michigan. In 1955, Michigan State University Trustee, Forest Akers was asked by C&O Chairman Cyrus Eaton if the University would be interested in having a steam locomotive (Eaton did not want to scrap the engines but was having a hard time finding places that would accept them) so that engineering students would have a piece of real equipment to study. Forest Akers thought it a good idea and proposed the idea to University President John Hannah. John Hannah accepted the gift of the locomotive.
When he told the Dean of the College of Engineering about the gift, the Dean said that Engineering was not interested in an obsolete locomotive. John Hannah then called up Dr. Rollin Baker, director of the MSU Museum and told him that he was getting a locomotive. The C&O then instructed the yardmaster at New Buffalo to send an engine to the Wyoming Shops for a cosmetic restoration and repainting with the name Chesapeake and Ohio on the side. The 1225 was the last engine in the line, i.e. easiest to get out. It had nothing to do with the number representing Christmas Day. Baker received the gift of the locomotive in 1957 when it was brought to campus. The locomotive remained on static display near Spartan Stadium on the Michigan State campus in East Lansing, Michigan for a decade.
While on display, a child by the name of Chris Van Allsburg used to stop by the locomotive on football weekends, on his way to the game with his father. He later stated that the engine was the inspiration for the story, Polar Express.
Lots more information about riding the train and the rest of their collection at the Steam Railroading Institute and more about the book right here!
View Charles’ photo bigger on Flickr and see more in his Steam Engine, Railroad Photos album.
Yesterday my photos and videos of an odd phenomenon on the Lake Michigan shore in Leelanau County got featured by Tanda Gimter on mLive who writes in part:
…some of the ice-crystal creations that suddenly appeared on a Leelanau County beach last weekend had photographers excited about their find – and a little baffled. The large, column-like crystals spread out on the ground like blooming flowers.
When you touched the hand-high columns, they broke apart easily.
“It was just kind of a weird day,” said Andrew McFarlane of Leland, who works in web development and marketing. He took pictures and a couple videos of the phenomenon while he was at Van’s Beach in Leland on Sunday. “I’ve never seen it before that I can remember.”
As regular readers know, I’m not one to let a Michigan mystery alone, and after some research I’m pretty confident that this is called “candle ice”. The American Meteorological Society defines it as: A form of rotten ice; disintegrating sea ice (or lake ice) consisting of ice prisms or cylinders oriented perpendicular to the original ice surface; these “ice fingers” may be equal in length to the thickness of the original ice before its disintegration.
Here’s a video of it!