Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Deep Freeze in the Great Lakes

20.02.2014
How are the ice-covered Great Lakes impacting the environment?

Lake Superior is more than 90 percent iced over, and experts say there's a possibility it will be covered completely before winter's end for the first time in nearly 20 years. Someone has proposed a hike across Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron and Lake Erie are 95 percent frozen.


NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab

A collage of icy Great Lakes conditions.

But even without 100 percent ice cover, the icy lakes are having a major effect on the environment around them.

"The biggest impact we'll see is shutting down the lake effect snow," said Guy Meadows, director of Michigan Technological University's Great Lakes Research Center in Houghton, on Michigan’s snowy Upper Peninsula. Lake effect snow occurs when weather systems from the north and west pick up evaporating lake water that's warmer than the air, then drop it as snow after reaching land, he explained. An ice cover prevents that evaporation.

Ice on the Great Lakes can also contribute to more frigid temperatures, Meadows noted, because the warmer lake water won't have the chance to moderate the temperatures of those same northerly weather systems the way it usually does.

if there the weather is cold and calm, the ice can grow fairly quickly, because the water temperature is near the freezing point. However, strong winds can break up ice that's already formed, pushing it into open water and piling it vertically both above and below the water line.

The Soo Locks are currently closed for the winter, and all shipping on Lake Superior has halted, but ice buildups can cause problems in the spring. Even icebreaker ships can't do much about ice buildup that can be as much as 25 or 30 feet deep.

The ice can also have positive effects though. Lake Superior's whitefish and some other fish, for example, need ice cover to protect their spawning beds from winter storms. Heavy ice, therefore, should lead to good fishing.

Meadows said invasive nuisance species have been thriving at the bottom of Lake Superior in recent years largely because of warmer temperatures, so "cooling things back down will be a good thing in that sense."

Guy Meadows | Newswise
Further information:
http://www.mtu.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores
07.12.2016 | Santa Fe Institute

nachricht Sea ice hit record lows in November
07.12.2016 | University of Colorado at Boulder

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>