A lot of ice on the Great Lakes

Thanks to a record-shattering late February and early March Arctic blast, ice cover on the Great Lakes is now the most widespread in 35 years, and nearing an all-time record. According to an analysis by NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, ice cover peaked at 92.2 percent of the Great Lakes on March 6. In records dating to 1973, only February 1979 (94.7 percent peak) had a greater ice coverage. Officials say this is an abrupt turn around from the past four winters, during which the peak ice coverage was around 40 percent or less. The 40-year average peak ice coverage each winter is about 51 percent. About 94 percent of Lake Superior, just under 96 percent of Lake Huron, 96 percent of Lake Erie, and almost 92 percent of Lake Michigan was ice-covered on March 6. Lake Ontario, which typically gets less ice coverage because it has three times the volume of water compared to Lake Erie, peaked at 59 percent ice-covered. Last Saturday, the ice concentration on Lake Michigan was measured at 93.29%. That’s a new record for ice cover on the big lake. The previous record was 93.1% set in 1977. The period of record dates back to 1973. The ice coverage on the Great Lakes has set an early March record, topping March ice cover in the previous two standard-bearing years, 1979 at nearly 76 percent and 1994 when it was just shy of 86 percent.  (MRN)

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