Climate Change in action for the Great Lakes: In five months we went from fear over "the world’s biggest hot tub" to nearing record ice cover
Lake Superior, the largest of North America’s Great Lakes, is on its way to becoming the world’s biggest hot tub. According to scientists, climate change is causing the lake to heat up faster than any other lake on the planet.
James Kitchell, an emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, explained on Public Radio International, or PRI, that the large surface area of the lake, which covers 31,700 square miles, is exactly the reason it's warming faster than the other Great Lakes -- and every other lake, for that matter. . . .
"When there’s ice on the lakes, a lot of that solar energy is reflected back into the atmosphere, but in the most recent three decades, the duration of ice on the lake has reduced by as much as 50 percent or more," Kitchell said. "The result is that more solar radiation enters and stays in the water column, and the lake warms more quickly." . . .Now we have this from USA Today:
As of Wednesday morning, 91% of the Great Lakes were ice-covered, which is the second-highest level since records began, according to the laboratory. The previous second place record was in 1994, at 90.7%.Finally, let me reiterate that since 82% of the time over the last billion years world temperature has been much higher than it is now, you would think that the best guest is that temperatures would rise normally.
The record of almost 95% was set in February 1979. "It certainly seems like we have a chance to set the record," research lab scientist Anne Clites said in an e-mail Monday, noting that it will depend on the weather over the next two weeks. . . .
UPDATE: Lake Michigan hits record 93.29 percent ice concentration on March 9, 2014. That is slightly greater than the previous record of 93.1 percent set back in 1977. Researchers began keeping records in 1973