Ice cover on the Great Lakes is on a downward cycle • Earth.com

Ice cover on the Great Lakes is on a downward cycle

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features the Great Lakes on February 13, 2023. On this day, ice cover on the lakes was seven percent. According to NASA, this is the lowest ice cover measured on February 13 of any year since satellite-based record keeping began in 1973.

“So far this winter, the Great Lakes have been unusually ice-free. As of February 14, 2023, ice covered only 6.6 percent of the five freshwater lakes, which is significantly less than the 35-40 percent ice cover that is typical for mid-February,” says NASA.

“Ice extent across the Great Lakes Basin briefly jumped to 21 percent in early February in response to a cold snap. But since then, it has declined through at least mid-February. Maximum ice cover typically occurs between mid-February and early March.”

A study led by Jia Wang, an ice climatologist at NOAA’s GLERL, has revealed that ice cover on the Great Lakes has been on a downward trend for the last 44 years. From 1973 to 2017, the average winter ice cover declined by 69 percent.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Editor

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