Skip to comments.'Deep Freeze' Adding Inches of Ice to Great Lakes Levels
Posted on 01/21/2014 5:20:20 AM PST by MichCapCon
Because of low temperatures over the past few weeks there is more ice cover on the Great Lakes than in recent years.
Experts are now trying to assess if that means lake levels will increase because of the added ice.
"We have had very cold weather early this winter," Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said. "There is a lot more ice on the lakes. The ice cover on Lake Michigan is at 40 percent and it is at about 45 percent on Lake Huron.
"There is a lot of research and experimentation taking place regarding evaporation," Kompoltowicz continued. "We know that evaporation plays a significant role in how much water leaves the system, just as we know that rain plays a major role in adding water. However, while we have a pretty good understanding about how to measure rain and its impact, that's not the case with evaporation. We're just beginning to get new technologies that could help us measure evaporation on the lakes."
There is reason to focus on the water levels of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. A year ago, in December 2012 and January 2013, the water level of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron dipped to the lowest levels recorded for those months since the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers started keeping track in 1918.
That attracted attention, including claims that the low levels were caused by man-made climate change. However, by February the level was higher than it was back in the 1960s and remained higher than in previous low periods throughout the rest of 2013.
During the Corps' 95 years of data collecting on the Great Lakes there have been three low level periods: 1926 through the mid-1930s, 1963 through the mid-1970s, and the current low period, from 2000 to the present. Throughout most of the current low level period, water levels on the Great Lakes have been above those of the 1963 through mid-1970s low period.
Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are considered two lakes geographically but one lake in hydrological terms, and are considered one lake in regard to lake levels. Currently the water level on Lake Michigan and Lake Huron is about a foot above what it was a year ago and 14 inches above the mean monthly level of January 1965, which was the lowest measured over the 95 years of recordkeeping by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
"We expect it to stay about a foot above last year's level at least through about June, Kompoltowicz said.
Winter’s a bitch!
More heat causes it to be colder, and if you question this notion, you are an anti-science conspiracy nut.
“Experts are now trying to assess if that means lake levels will increase because of the added ice.”
Doesn’t the ice form from the already present water? Where does “added ice” come from? Is someone trucking in extra ice from other lakes? I’m very confused.
The article is saying that since ice evaporates much more slowly than open water, there will be less evaporation this winter, which may help raise the lake levels.
More ice means less evaporation.
Less evaporation, because more of the surface area is frozen.
By the way, this website is the dog’s bollocks when it comes to Great Lakes Water Levels: http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/data/now/wlevels/dbd/
ONLY IF THERE IS NEW WATER ADDED!!!! Please tell me these people aren't THAT STUPID!!! I'm not yelling at you, just the stupid people.
Back in the 1970s, executives at U.S. Steel’s Great Lakes Fleet thought they could operate their boats year round. The Corps of Engineers approved the plan and the Coast Guard agreed to help break ice with their one Great Lakes icebreaker, Mackinaw. The ice did so much damage to the fleet that it took decades of regular service to pay for the damage...
“Added ice” here simply means more ice than usual, not that it was added from outside (though even that’s true when snow falls on ice cover and makes more ice, just as rain represents added water to a body of water). Nonetheless, added (or more, if you prefer) ice raises the water level in the lakes for three reasons that even those of us not trained in hydrology can point out:
1. Ice doesn’t flow. The Great Lakes have an outlet via the St. Lawrence River (if they had no outlet, they, not the puddle in Utah would be the Great Salt Lakes or would be called the Sea of Erie, Sea of Ontario, etc.). Ice not flowing means more water stays in the lakes.
2. Ice doesn’t evaporate (though it may sublime much more slowly than liquid water evaporates or melt, then evaporate). Thus, more ice means more water staying in the lakes on that count as well.
3. Although it’s a transient effect that ends when the ice melts, ice is less dense than water, so partial freezing of a body of water raises the water level.
geez are ALL journolists this stupid?
Take a block of ice, and float it in a cup of water.
Wait for it to melt.
Measure how much overflows- (hint: it will be zero)
Ice is LESS DENSE than liquid water, that’s why it floats. When it melts it will displace LESS volume
They aren’t talking about the ice raising the lake level. They’re talking about the ice preventing evaporation which keeps the levels up.
We had a lot of rain across the region last summer which brought the level up and the ice is keeping it up.
A glass of water with ice in it under room temperature will answer your question.
Well I would assume all the snow would be at some point be new water in the lake
Apparently only a couple of us bothered to read this.
Why not build a big dam at the Niagara Falls narrows and stop the water from exiting, that will make the water levels higher and stop the erosion of the rocks at Niagara Falls — problem solved!
...and maybe generate a few gigawatts of power while we’re at it.
Wouldn’t that make a few liberals’ heads explode...
As a result of this factual misstatement, I'm presuming the rest of the "information" in your article is semi-fraudulent as well.
I think I recently read that Niagara Falls is frozen solid, for the first time in a long time.
Well, of course most of the water that leaves the Great Lakes is lost by evaporation.
which is a scientific analysis of water loss of the Lakes (combined with net extraction for irrigation, drinking water/exported water, whatever), vs blaming 'man-made climate change'. (which isn't mentioned at all in my linked article, btw)(note: I thought the part of the story about draining the lakes for chinese bottled water was amusing, not a basis for anything related to lake levels)
I don't know enough about the Lakes to have any discussion on details/history, but this Feb. 5, 2013 News Release by the Army Corps of Engineers affirms that stated in the article and appears to the the source for the statement.
Lake Michigan-Huron sets all-time record for lowest monthly water level DETROIT -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District through its Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office reports a preliminary new record low water level for Lake Michigan-Huron for the second month in a row. The new record low of 175.57 meters or 576.02 feet is not only the lowest January monthly average water level ever recorded, but also the lowest monthly average ever recorded for any month over the official period of record for Great Lakes water levels, which extends back to 1918. The Corps issues water level forecasts for the Great Lakes in coordination with Environment Canada, andwith the use of water level data and forecasting models developed by the National Oceanic andAtmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory and National OceanService. The Corps latest forecasts indicate a strong likelihood for continued record lows on LakeMichigan-Huron over the next several months. Water levels on the remaining Great Lakes are expected to remain below their respective long-term average water levels, but above record lows.
Not only have water levels on Michigan-Huron broken records the past two months, but they have been very near record lows for the last several months before then. Lake Michigan-Hurons water level shave also been below average for the past 14 years, which is the longest period of sustained below average levels since 1918 for that lake said John Allis, Chief of the Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office at the Corps, the office that monitors Great Lakes water levels.
The current record low water levels on Lake Michigan-Huron are the result of lower than averagesnowfall during the winter of 2011-2012, coupled with the very hot and dry summer. Together theseconditions led to only a 4 inch seasonal rise of Lake Michigan-Huron in 2012, compared to an averagerise of 12 inches. Also, evaporation was significantly above average during the summer and fall monthsand contributed to a very rapid seasonal decline.
If the Army Corps of Engineers is wrong, take it up with them. Not suggesting fact or fraud; not my backyard. But I find the scientific analysis of evaporation from the Lakes interesting (when not coupled with hype about AGW).
One of the commenters at the poster's article makes the following question:
If the US and Canada agreed to take one trillion gallons of the world's freshest water directly out of Lake Superior and sell it on the global market (just assume there is one), by how much will this singular action drop the level of the lake?
Anyone wanna have fun with that??? Seriously...after looking at the Corps' historical charts, I think it's a good question.../s
Why not build a big dam
I understand very clearly the cycles of the lake, understand the complexities of the watershed, but your original article was wrong, plus the water has been headed on an upward cycle for over a year now. This year it is likely to have a major rise in level because of the cold winter, and the amount of precipitation in the watershed area.
My "the lake is receding because of global warming" neighbors are deeply saddened......
Reminds me of a scene from the China Syndrome, "But THIS one says it's (the water level) HIGH!". Corps' measurement likely cherry-picked during low-tide...imagine what THOSE emails say between agency heads.
My "the lake is receding because of global warming" neighbors are deeply saddened......
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