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 Greenhouse gases' millennia-long ocean legacy
04.08.2015 | Carnegie Institution

nachricht NASA sees heavy rainfall in Super Typhoon Soudelor
04.08.2015 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Greenhouse gases' millennia-long ocean legacy

Continuing current carbon dioxide (CO2) emission trends throughout this century and beyond would leave a legacy of heat and acidity in the deep ocean. These...

Im Focus: Glaciers melt faster than ever

Glacier decline in the first decade of the 21st century has reached a historical record, since the onset of direct observations. Glacier melt is a global phenomenon and will continue even without further climate change. This is shown in the latest study by the World Glacier Monitoring Service under the lead of the University of Zurich, Switzerland.

The World Glacier Monitoring Service, domiciled at the University of Zurich, has compiled worldwide data on glacier changes for more than 120 years. Together...

Im Focus: Quantum Matter Stuck in Unrest

Using ultracold atoms trapped in light crystals, scientists from the MPQ, LMU, and the Weizmann Institute observe a novel state of matter that never thermalizes.

What happens if one mixes cold and hot water? After some initial dynamics, one is left with lukewarm water—the system has thermalized to a new thermal...

Im Focus: On the crest of the wave: Electronics on a time scale shorter than a cycle of light

Physicists from Regensburg and Marburg, Germany have succeeded in taking a slow-motion movie of speeding electrons in a solid driven by a strong light wave. In the process, they have unraveled a novel quantum phenomenon, which will be reported in the forthcoming edition of Nature.

The advent of ever faster electronics featuring clock rates up to the multiple-gigahertz range has revolutionized our day-to-day life. Researchers and...

Im Focus: Superfast fluorescence sets new speed record

Plasmonic device has speed and efficiency to serve optical computers

Researchers have developed an ultrafast light-emitting device that can flip on and off 90 billion times a second and could form the basis of optical computing.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Success 4.0 – Is Your Company Fit for the Future? New Series of Events for Executives

04.08.2015 | Event News

3rd Euro Bio-inspired - International Conference and Exhibition on Bio-inspired Materials

23.07.2015 | Event News

Clash of Realities – International Conference on the Art, Technology and Theory of Digital Games

10.07.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Small tilt in magnets makes them viable memory chips

04.08.2015 | Information Technology

New Design Brings World’s First Solar Battery to Performance Milestone

04.08.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Magnetism at Nanoscale

04.08.2015 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>