One Week Into Spring And The Great Lakes Still Mostly Covered In Ice

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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One week into spring and the Great Lakes are still more than half covered in ice, according to government data.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data shows that 51.2 percent of the Great Lakes were still covered in ice as of March 26. Spring officially started on March 20, but even so the eastern half of the U.S. is still seeing snow and cold.

Right now the Great Lakes are seeing the third highest ice coverage on record for this time of year. Last year, the Great Lakes saw record ice coverage for this time of year, according to Environment Canada, with nearly 80 percent of the lakes still covered with ice.

Interestingly enough, it was just two years ago that a “climate guest contributor” for ThinkProgress wrote that “the Great Lakes are feeling the effects of climate change.” ThinkProgress warned that global warming was causing the demise of the Great Lakes.

“Last year was officially the warmest year on record for the lower-48 states,” ThinkProgress reported in 2013. “The hot summer air has been causing the surface water of the Great Lakes to increase in temperature. One might think this causes more precipitation around the lakes, but the warmer winter air is causing a shorter duration of ice cover.”

“In fact, the amount of ice covering the lakes has declined about 71 percent over the past 40 years,” the liberal site declared. “Last year, only 5 percent of the lakes froze over –- compared to 1979 when ice coverage was as much as 94 percent.”

Ironically, the two years after ThinkProgress published its article, there were huge gains for Great Lake ice coverage. Annual maximum ice coverage for the Great Lakes was nearly 93 percent in 2014, according to NOAA — way above the 38 percent in 2013. The maximum ice coverage record was 94.7 percent that was set in 1979.

Lake ice coverage could be headed for another big year as more than 50 percent of the Great Lakes are still covered with ice.

[h/t Steven Goddard]

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