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Great Lakes ice loss at 71% since the early 1970s


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#1
The_Global_Warmer

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http://earthsky.org/...-are-losing-ice



Study showing ice from 1973-2011. Not including 2012 which is at 12% ice coverage.


I think this speaks volumes on the lack of deep and prolonged cold year to year.

#2
PhillipS

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http://earthsky.org/...-are-losing-ice



Study showing ice from 1973-2011. Not including 2012 which is at 12% ice coverage.


I think this speaks volumes on the lack of deep and prolonged cold year to year.


I didn't see any mention in the article or the paper's abstract (and I'm too cheap to buy the paper from AMS) - but would the increase in open water during the winter cause a corresponding increase in lake effect snowfall?

#3
roardog

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I didn't see any mention in the article or the paper's abstract (and I'm too cheap to buy the paper from AMS) - but would the increase in open water during the winter cause a corresponding increase in lake effect snowfall?


That's a silly question.

#4
turtlehurricane

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Great Lakes ice loss is at 100% every year.

#5
PhillipS

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That's a silly question.


Please help me understand why you feel it's a silly question.

From the wikipedia article on lake effect snow:


Lake-effect snow is produced during cooler atmospheric conditions when cold winds move across long expanses of warmer lake water, providing energy and picking up water vapor which freezes and is deposited on the leeward shores.


This effect occurs in many locations throughout the world but is best known in the populated areas of the Great Lakes of North America, and especially Western New York, northwestern Pennsylvania, northeastern Ohio, southwestern and central Ontario, northwestern and northcentral Indiana (mostly between Gary, IN and Elkhart, IN), and western Michigan. The Tug Hill Plateau of New York State has the most snow amounts of any non-mountainous location within the continental U.S., followed by the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which can average over 200 inches (508 centimeters) of snow per year. [1]


As a lake gradually freezes over, its ability to produce lake-effect precipitation decreases for two reasons. Firstly, the open ice-free liquid surface area of the lake shrinks. This reduces fetch distances. Secondly, the water temperature nears freezing, reducing overall latent heat energy available to produce squalls.


Cold winds in the winter typically prevail from the northwest in the Great Lakes region, producing the most dramatic lake-effect snowfalls on the southern and eastern shores of the Great Lakes. This lake-effect produces a significant difference between the snowfall on the southern/eastern shores and the northern and western shores of the Great Lakes.


Lake-effect snows on the Tug Hill Plateau (east of Lake Ontario) can frequently set daily records for snowfall in the United States. Syracuse, New York, is directly south of the Tug Hill Plateau and receives significant lake-effect snow from Lake Ontario, averaging 115.6 inches (294 cm) of snow per year, which is enough snowfall to often be considered one of the "snowiest" large cities in America.[11][12] The communities of Redfield in Oswego County and Montague and North Osceola in Lewis County, all on the Tug Hill Plateau, average over 300 inches (762 cm) of snow each winter.[13].


It seems logical to me that reduced ice coverage and increased open water would increase the 'fetch' of prevailing winds to pull water vapor off the Great Lakes. THis water vapor would fall as either rain or snow - but in either even would be lake effect precipitation.

#6
PhillipS

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Great Lakes ice loss is at 100% every year.


The article is talking about winter ice extent. Are you trying to be funny - or are you just that dim?

#7
turtlehurricane

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The article is talking about winter ice extent. Are you trying to be funny - or are you just that dim?

Not that dim, the title should be more specific.

I do agree it is a telling stat about how winters have been getting less harsh in eastern North America.

#8
turtlehurricane

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I didn't see any mention in the article or the paper's abstract (and I'm too cheap to buy the paper from AMS) - but would the increase in open water during the winter cause a corresponding increase in lake effect snowfall?

That's a complicated thing to answer. Less ice = more open water and therefore more snow if cold air hits, but if there's no ice where's the cold air in the first place. There's probably some optimal balance between the amount of open water and the amount of cold air passing over the lake, too much ice and there's no moisture for LES, and too little cold air you get less LES in the first place.

It probably depends from year to year considering.

#9
TerryM

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No snow of any type in southern Ontario - Here we never had more than a few inches, and it never lasted more than a few days. The river never froze over, ponds remained open, things just never got cold.

Very different than 50 years ago.

#10
dabize

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No snow of any type in southern Ontario - Here we never had more than a few inches, and it never lasted more than a few days. The river never froze over, ponds remained open, things just never got cold.
Very different than 50 years ago.


Pretty much the same here. We had a whole week of snow cover, all told.

I know that is weather, not climate, but I've been keeping track of snow cover (60%+ at noon) since the early '70s - first in northern Westchester, NY, then in New Haven CT and finally in two sites in eastern MA. It's hardly ever been below 25 days, and is usually around 70-80 days here in Sudbury (MA, not ON) A few years ago we had 114 days of snow cover.

I haven't seen this kind of total lack of snow since 1970-71.

#11
dabize

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http://www.ec.gc.ca/...En&n=CE69E4DD-1


Look at the loss of GOSL ice and the lack of Great Lakes ice cover on this......

Maybe its time to start up a Hudson's Bay melt thread - esp with the massive torch due over the next 2 weeks

#12
The_Global_Warmer

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http://www.ec.gc.ca/...En&n=CE69E4DD-1


Look at the loss of GOSL ice and the lack of Great Lakes ice cover on this......

Maybe its time to start up a Hudson's Bay melt thread - esp with the massive torch due over the next 2 weeks



It's definitely going to see melt. But probably not any loss of ice coverage, except if winds blow hard south to north for a while. But that should cover back up.

#13
NEOH

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Lake Erie freezes almost every winter... with the exception of this winter of course (the western basin was frozen for a time this year). Not sure what this article is trying to illustrate. You can't compare ice coverage on lake erie or lake st. clair to larger lakes such as MI, Huron or Superior.

#14
Snowstorms

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No snow of any type in southern Ontario - Here we never had more than a few inches, and it never lasted more than a few days. The river never froze over, ponds remained open, things just never got cold.

Very different than 50 years ago.


lol your kidding me right?

You dont think what we saw this Winter didnt happen before?

In 1952-53 we had a mere 21" of snow. Lets go back further. 1905-06, is quite comparable to this year, temp and snow wise across SONT. Another mild winter was 1881-82. The mid 20's thru the mid 30's werent the best of winters as well. Since EC didnt start including snow depth till the 50's, we dont have accurate numbers before that, but you can judge the snow depth just by analyzing the temperature anomalies.

Based on my analysis, temperature anomalies across SONT are highly dependent on natural variables such as the PDO, AMO, NAO, etc.

So I wouldn't talk.

#15
Scuddz

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I didn't see any mention in the article or the paper's abstract (and I'm too cheap to buy the paper from AMS) - but would the increase in open water during the winter cause a corresponding increase in lake effect snowfall?



Think about it this way. If it was cold enough to create lots of lake effect snow, it would be cold enough to make ice on the lakes. Sure, it could lead to isolated out-of-season lake events, but overall, if it's cold, you get ice and it cuts of LES, if its warm, there's more open water, but it too warm for LES.

Generally, this would only effect Erie anyway, since large portions of the remaining lakes do not freeze over for extended periods of time.

#16
TerryM

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lol your kidding me right?

You dont think what we saw this Winter didnt happen before?

In 1952-53 we had a mere 21" of snow. Lets go back further. 1905-06, is quite comparable to this year, temp and snow wise across SONT. Another mild winter was 1881-82. The mid 20's thru the mid 30's werent the best of winters as well. Since EC didnt start including snow depth till the 50's, we dont have accurate numbers before that, but you can judge the snow depth just by analyzing the temperature anomalies.

Based on my analysis, temperature anomalies across SONT are highly dependent on natural variables such as the PDO, AMO, NAO, etc.

So I wouldn't talk.


Can I ask for your sources?

At present many of mine are anecdotal - if the Grand and Speed Rivers had not frozen in the 50's I would have been aware of it as my parents had a factory on Water Street in Galt, a factory at waters edge in Glen Morris as well as 4 retail establishments along the river's course. Spring floods as the ice collapsed were a huge annual concern, and had there been a year without such it would have been noted and remarked upon.

We also lived within eyesight of the Old Blair Bridge, which was destroyed by ice damage in 1957. Not having the annual ice jam flood would have been a huge event in the village. The Grand River Conservation Authority is located within 10 KM of me, and I can make an appointment to see their early records if you think there would be any point to it. The Evening Reporter's morgue files will have recorded the moment that the ice broke in Galt because of the prize awarded for the correct guess. Again these records are not available on line, but are archived in the old city hall here.

We, the village children, skated on the old mill pond every winter - this year it simply never froze over.
Again this is the kind of thing that even a child would be aware of.

Do you have this year's snow totals close at hand - the 21" you mention from the early 50's still seems like much more than we received in the GTA this year - but perhaps I'm wrong.

`

#17
B-Rent

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Great Lakes ice loss is at 100% every year.


Post of the day.

#18
SVT450R

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Can I ask for your sources?

At present many of mine are anecdotal - if the Grand and Speed Rivers had not frozen in the 50's I would have been aware of it as my parents had a factory on Water Street in Galt, a factory at waters edge in Glen Morris as well as 4 retail establishments along the river's course. Spring floods as the ice collapsed were a huge annual concern, and had there been a year without such it would have been noted and remarked upon.

We also lived within eyesight of the Old Blair Bridge, which was destroyed by ice damage in 1957. Not having the annual ice jam flood would have been a huge event in the village. The Grand River Conservation Authority is located within 10 KM of me, and I can make an appointment to see their early records if you think there would be any point to it. The Evening Reporter's morgue files will have recorded the moment that the ice broke in Galt because of the prize awarded for the correct guess. Again these records are not available on line, but are archived in the old city hall here.

We, the village children, skated on the old mill pond every winter - this year it simply never froze over.
Again this is the kind of thing that even a child would be aware of.

Do you have this year's snow totals close at hand - the 21" you mention from the early 50's still seems like much more than we received in the GTA this year - but perhaps I'm wrong.

`


http://www.americanw...-ever-recorded/

I know it's only one month but gives you an idea that stuff like this has happened before.

#19
WeatherRusty

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lol your kidding me right?

You dont think what we saw this Winter didnt happen before?

In 1952-53 we had a mere 21" of snow. Lets go back further. 1905-06, is quite comparable to this year, temp and snow wise across SONT. Another mild winter was 1881-82. The mid 20's thru the mid 30's werent the best of winters as well. Since EC didnt start including snow depth till the 50's, we dont have accurate numbers before that, but you can judge the snow depth just by analyzing the temperature anomalies.

Based on my analysis, temperature anomalies across SONT are highly dependent on natural variables such as the PDO, AMO, NAO, etc.

So I wouldn't talk.


The ocean temps are warmer today than in decades past. Warmer PDO, AMO etc. Warmer pretty much everything.

High temp records being eclipsed at twice the rate of new low records.

#20
TerryM

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http://www.americanw...-ever-recorded/

I know it's only one month but gives you an idea that stuff like this has happened before.



Interesting Stuff

March is starting off warm here - but I'm much more concerned about the fact that nothing in this area froze up all winter.

#21
WeatherRusty

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Interesting Stuff

March is starting off warm here - but I'm much more concerned about the fact that nothing in this area froze up all winter.


Again, lets not lose sight of the importance in the longer term trend over that of inter-annual variability. Also, how global averages and synoptic scale changes effect regional conditions, i.e. prevalence of open arctic water. The global average temp in 1945 was 0.4C - 0.5C cooler than today.

#22
The_Global_Warmer

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Snow is largely irrelevant in climates that are. cold enuf for it roughly the same or similar lengths as before.

snow totals are even more irrelevant.


This ice decline Is a direct link to the cold lessening.

#23
TerryM

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Snow is largely irrelevant in climates that are. cold enuf for it roughly the same or similar lengths as before.

snow totals are even more irrelevant.


This ice decline Is a direct link to the cold lessening.


I think I agree, with the caveat that the albedo effect of snow cover, and the latent heat tied up by change of phase is at least as large for snow as it is for ice. (snow being slightly more likely to sublimate than the more compacted ice)

Ice takes more sustained low temperatures to form and is therefor a better indicator of the prevalence of above freezing or sub-freezing temperatures.

#24
beneficii

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Not that dim, the title should be more specific.

I do agree it is a telling stat about how winters have been getting less harsh in eastern North America.


I think this goes back to the issue of meteorologists, so hung up on the annual and decadal cycles and oscillations, missing the big picture with regard to climate change.

Any time, in a discussion about climate change, we talk about ice loss over a period of decades, it should be understood, unless otherwise stated, that we are accounting for cycles and oscillations.

#25
turtlehurricane

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I think this goes back to the issue of meteorologists, so hung up on the annual and decadal cycles and oscillations, missing the big picture with regard to climate change.

Any time, in a discussion about climate change, we talk about ice loss over a period of decades, it should be understood, unless otherwise stated, that we are accounting for cycles and oscillations.

This goes back to the issue of making misleading thread titles in the CC forum lol

#26
Snowstorms

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Can I ask for your sources?

At present many of mine are anecdotal - if the Grand and Speed Rivers had not frozen in the 50's I would have been aware of it as my parents had a factory on Water Street in Galt, a factory at waters edge in Glen Morris as well as 4 retail establishments along the river's course. Spring floods as the ice collapsed were a huge annual concern, and had there been a year without such it would have been noted and remarked upon.

We also lived within eyesight of the Old Blair Bridge, which was destroyed by ice damage in 1957. Not having the annual ice jam flood would have been a huge event in the village. The Grand River Conservation Authority is located within 10 KM of me, and I can make an appointment to see their early records if you think there would be any point to it. The Evening Reporter's morgue files will have recorded the moment that the ice broke in Galt because of the prize awarded for the correct guess. Again these records are not available on line, but are archived in the old city hall here.

We, the village children, skated on the old mill pond every winter - this year it simply never froze over.
Again this is the kind of thing that even a child would be aware of.

Do you have this year's snow totals close at hand - the 21" you mention from the early 50's still seems like much more than we received in the GTA this year - but perhaps I'm wrong.


Now I dont buy EC's number for YYZ due to huge discrepancies in the numbers and the March 08 blizzard is a perfect example.

As for the sources, just check EC's climate data. It may be the least snowiest Winter on record this year but 2007-08 was the snowiest in many regions including EONT/SQuebec.We also had the first nationwide white Christmas across Canada in 2008 since the 70's.

I dont have the records for the sea ice in regional areas but based on my calculations temps and precip varies year after year and no trend has been observed. I also did a decadal snowfall average for Toronto going back to 1850.

Just because we have one mild Winter in a number of Winters in the past couple of years doesnt mean its climate change. Just natural variance.

#27
TerryM

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Now I dont buy EC's number for YYZ due to huge discrepancies in the numbers and the March 08 blizzard is a perfect example.

As for the sources, just check EC's climate data. It may be the least snowiest Winter on record this year but 2007-08 was the snowiest in many regions including EONT/SQuebec.We also had the first nationwide white Christmas across Canada in 2008 since the 70's.

I dont have the records for the sea ice in regional areas but based on my calculations temps and precip varies year after year and no trend has been observed. I also did a decadal snowfall average for Toronto going back to 1850.

Just because we have one mild Winter in a number of Winters in the past couple of years doesnt mean its climate change. Just natural variance.


I think we agree that it's "just weather" - but my EC said that 2010 had the lowest snow in Toronto since 1843 - and this year had less than last. It's 'just weather' but that's a fairly long record.

#28
Snowstorms

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I think we agree that it's "just weather" - but my EC said that 2010 had the lowest snow in Toronto since 1843 - and this year had less than last. It's 'just weather' but that's a fairly long record.


2009-10 beat 1952-53 by 0.5cm I think in terms of the lowest snowfall on record.

So what?

We had the two warmest March's on record in a row, lol? (1945, 1946).

2007-08 and 2008-09 were one of the snowiest Winters on record across the region. Other comparable Winters include, 04-05, 02-03, 00-01, 98-99? I just dont see a trend.

Next Winter will be interesting. Anomalies across the Equatorial pacific have cooled off after the recent spike in the last few weeks as a result of the MJO Wave. Global AAM remains near record low's indicating a La NIna like atmosphere is still present globally despite warming anomalies across the ENSO regions. I wouldnt give up on the La Nina just yet. If anything, this Winter resembles 74-75 quite nicely in terms of temps across our region, a second year Nina. 75-75 was way snowier.

#29
TerryM

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Actually the thread has been about ice. Snowfall is a bit of a distraction IMHO, and lake ice, as I understand it is showing evidence of being effected by Global Warming. I'm sure that ice on the Grand River has also been climatically effected as no one here under 40 remembers what it was like, and no one over 50 can forget it.

I suppose that there is the possibility of some 100 year cycle that is playing itself out, but at some point Occam's blade has to slash through the morning shadow.

#30
michsnowfreak

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No snow of any type in southern Ontario - Here we never had more than a few inches, and it never lasted more than a few days. The river never froze over, ponds remained open, things just never got cold.

Very different than 50 years ago.

I always LOL when I hear something like this. Actually winters like 2011-12 has been in the Great Lakes region were more common in the 1930s-1950s than they are today. Look up the winters of 1941-42, 1948-49, 1952-53, just to name a few, were VERY similar to this winter in the Great Lakes region wrt widespread lack of snow and warm temps, although the 3 that I named were much WORSE for snow than this past one for most places in the Lakes region. It amazes me how so many of the very anamolously warm winters from that timeframe just get totally forgotten when some try to prove how winters were harsher back than. Granted Im not sure about Toronto, as some funky things have been happening the last few years there wrt snow, but I can tell you for the majority of the Lakes region, its crystal clear that winters overall in the 1930s-1950s were milder and much less snowy than a majority of winters today.

#31
michsnowfreak

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Can I ask for your sources?

His source would be every climate station in the Great Lakes region, wrt 1952-53. That winter was much more snowless and just as warm as this has been over this region. From everything Ive ever looked at, if you want a benchmark "year without a winter" that spans not just one area of part of a region but an entire half of the country, than 1952-53 would be your winner.

#32
TerryM

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His source would be every climate station in the Great Lakes region, wrt 1952-53. That winter was much more snowless and just as warm as this has been over this region. From everything Ive ever looked at, if you want a benchmark "year without a winter" that spans not just one area of part of a region but an entire half of the country, than 1952-53 would be your winner.


Thanks

Apparently, the last few winters have been even warmer in Ontario. Snow isn't a great indicator of much as it's more ephemeral than ice. The situation here along the Grand River is one in which ice buildup is becoming a sometimes thing, where previously it was a given. When added to the 71% loss in Great Lakes ice it seems to confirm the climatic shift we are experiencing.

A friend doing some middle woodlands archaeology at a riverbank site downstream from here confirms yearly inundations that can be read almost as clearly as varves, indicating yearly ice dam flooding prior to 500 CE. It might be fun to see what other records exist.

#33
Snowstorms

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Thanks

Apparently, the last few winters have been even warmer in Ontario. Snow isn't a great indicator of much as it's more ephemeral than ice. The situation here along the Grand River is one in which ice buildup is becoming a sometimes thing, where previously it was a given. When added to the 71% loss in Great Lakes ice it seems to confirm the climatic shift we are experiencing.

A friend doing some middle woodlands archaeology at a riverbank site downstream from here confirms yearly inundations that can be read almost as clearly as varves, indicating yearly ice dam flooding prior to 500 CE. It might be fun to see what other records exist.


2008-09 and last year were colder than normal.

2007-08 was near normal and 2009-10 and this year are above normal. 05-06 and Dec-Jan 07 were above normal.

Winters like 02-03, 03-04 and even 04-05 were colder than normal for the most part, so I dont see where your getting your first sentence from.

Again, it seems like we had just as bad Winters back in the 20's thru perhaps the 50's so clearly, there is no trend being observed atleast in our region.

#34
TerryM

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2008-09 and last year were colder than normal.

2007-08 was near normal and 2009-10 and this year are above normal. 05-06 and Dec-Jan 07 were above normal.

Winters like 02-03, 03-04 and even 04-05 were colder than normal for the most part, so I dont see where your getting your first sentence from.

Again, it seems like we had just as bad Winters back in the 20's thru perhaps the 50's so clearly, there is no trend being observed atleast in our region.


Again you didn't provide links.

In response let me offer this as a 2000-2009 anomaly graphic

Sure looks warmer ;>)

Posted Image

#35
The_Global_Warmer

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Posted Image

Posted Image

One region might be the same while the overall picture changed dramatically. This is not natural variance. Well I suppose, technically speaking it is. It is Natural Variance inside an overall warming trend.

So while someone's region may have a very similar winter in terms of temps and snow. that reduction of cold air is going to make it warmer over a long enough period. And since that cold air loss is continuing. That will continue to widen from the past to the future.




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