Great Lakes Still Over 80% Ice Covered

Posted on February 28, 2014

Great Lakes still over 80% frozen over on February 14

The Great Lakes are still 80.3 percent ice covered. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA's Aqua satellite captured this latest frozen image of the ice covered lakes. The above image was captured on February 19, 2014 and released today.

NASA says author Craig Childs described a February 2014 trek on Lake Superior as follows, "At night, as cold settles in, lake ice creaks and groans. It's been excessively cold, and I camped exposed on the snow-swept surface. Other than the lack of vegetation and the sounds at night, you'd never know you were on a lake. It feels like an empty plain. In some places, you see pressure ridges where ice has pushed into itself, sticking up like clear blue stegosaurus plates."

The lakes were more ice covered on February 13 when about 88% of the Great Lakes were frozen over. The was the largest ice coverage since 1994, when over 90% of the lakes were frozen over. NASA says ice has covered more than 80 percent of the lakes in only five other years since 1973.

Nathan Kurtz, cryospheric scientist NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., says in a statement, "Persistently low temperatures across the Great Lakes region are responsible for the increased areal coverage of the ice. Low temperatures are also the dominant mechanism for thickening the ice, while secondary factors like clouds, snow, and wind also play a role."

Image: Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA
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