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The_Global_Warmer

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

276 posts in this topic

http://earthsky.org/earth/north-americas-great-lakes-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.

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[quote name='Frivolousz21' timestamp='1331501062' post='1439113']
[url="http://earthsky.org/earth/north-americas-great-lakes-are-losing-ice"]http://earthsky.org/...-are-losing-ice[/url]



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.
[/quote]

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?

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[quote name='PhillipS' timestamp='1331502516' post='1439146']
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?
[/quote]

That's a silly question.

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[quote name='roardog' timestamp='1331505465' post='1439210']
That's a silly question.
[/quote]

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

From the [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_effect_snow"]wikipedia article on lake effect snow[/url]:


[indent=1][b]Lake-effect snow[/b] is produced during cooler atmospheric conditions when cold winds move across long expanses of warmer [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake"]lake[/url] water, providing energy and picking up [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_vapor"]water vapor[/url] which freezes and is deposited on the [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leeward"]leeward[/url] shores.[/indent]

[indent=1]This effect occurs in many locations throughout the world but is best known in the populated areas of the [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Lakes"][color=#0645ad]Great Lakes[/color][/url] of [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_America"][color=#0645ad]North America[/color][/url], and especially [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_New_York"][color=#0645ad]Western New York[/color][/url], northwestern Pennsylvania, northeastern Ohio, southwestern and central Ontario, northwestern and northcentral [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indiana"][color=#0645ad]Indiana[/color][/url] (mostly between [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary,_IN"][color=#0645ad]Gary, IN[/color][/url] and [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elkhart,_IN"][color=#0645ad]Elkhart, IN[/color][/url]), and western [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michigan"][color=#0645ad]Michigan[/color][/url]. The [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tug_Hill_Plateau"][color=#0645ad]Tug Hill Plateau[/color][/url] of [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_State"][color=#0645ad]New York State[/color][/url] has the most snow amounts of any non-mountainous location within the continental U.S., followed by the [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upper_Peninsula_of_Michigan"][color=#0645ad]Upper Peninsula of Michigan[/color][/url], which can average over 200 inches (508 centimeters) of snow per year. [sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_effect_snow#cite_note-0"][size=2][color=#0645ad][1][/color][/size][/url][/sup][/indent]

[indent=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.[/indent]

[indent=1]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 [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Lakes_(North_America)"]Great Lakes[/url]. 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.[/indent]

[indent=1]Lake-effect snows on the [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tug_Hill_Plateau"]Tug Hill Plateau[/url] (east of [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Ontario"]Lake Ontario[/url]) can frequently set daily records for snowfall in the [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States"]United States[/url]. [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syracuse,_New_York"]Syracuse, New York[/url], 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.[sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_effect_snow#cite_note-10"][size=2][11][/size][/url][/sup][sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_effect_snow#cite_note-11"][size=2][12][/size][/url][/sup] The communities of [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redfield,_New_York"]Redfield[/url] in [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oswego_County"]Oswego County[/url] and [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montague,_New_York"]Montague[/url] and [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osceola,_New_York"]North Osceola[/url] in [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_County,_New_York"]Lewis County[/url], all on the Tug Hill Plateau, average over 300 inches (762 cm) of snow each winter.[sup][url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_effect_snow#cite_note-12"][size=2][13][/size][/url].[/sup][/indent]

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.

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[quote name='turtlehurricane' timestamp='1331505593' post='1439219']
Great Lakes ice loss is at 100% every year.
[/quote]

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

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[quote name='PhillipS' timestamp='1331520055' post='1439534']
The article is talking about [b]winter [/b]ice extent. Are you trying to be funny - or are you just that dim?
[/quote]
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.

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[quote name='PhillipS' timestamp='1331502516' post='1439146']
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?
[/quote]
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.

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[quote name='TerryM' timestamp='1331521744' post='1439560']
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.
[/quote]

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.

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http://www.ec.gc.ca/glaces-ice/default.asp?lang=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

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[quote name='dabize' timestamp='1331524933' post='1439610']
[url="http://www.ec.gc.ca/glaces-ice/default.asp?lang=En&n=CE69E4DD-1"]http://www.ec.gc.ca/...En&n=CE69E4DD-1[/url]


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
[/quote]


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.

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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.

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[quote name='TerryM' timestamp='1331521744' post='1439560']
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.
[/quote]

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.

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[quote name='PhillipS' timestamp='1331502516' post='1439146']
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?
[/quote]


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.

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[quote name='Snowstorms' timestamp='1331559886' post='1439941']
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.
[/quote]

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.

`

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[quote name='TerryM' timestamp='1331565969' post='1440121']
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.

`
[/quote]

[url="http://www.americanwx.com/bb/index.php/topic/33221-march-1945-warmest-march-ever-recorded/"]http://www.americanw...-ever-recorded/[/url]

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

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[quote name='Snowstorms' timestamp='1331559886' post='1439941']
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.
[/quote]

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.

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[quote name='SVT450R' timestamp='1331568893' post='1440264']
[url="http://www.americanwx.com/bb/index.php/topic/33221-march-1945-warmest-march-ever-recorded/"]http://www.americanw...-ever-recorded/[/url]

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


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.

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[quote name='TerryM' timestamp='1331569799' post='1440296']
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.
[/quote]

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.

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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.

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[quote name='Frivolousz21' timestamp='1331572403' post='1440392']
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.
[/quote]

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.

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[quote name='turtlehurricane' timestamp='1331520333' post='1439538']
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.
[/quote]

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.

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[quote name='beneficii' timestamp='1331579339' post='1440611']
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.
[/quote]
This goes back to the issue of making misleading thread titles in the CC forum lol

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