Climate Change

The trouble with this winter’s unfrozen Great Lakes

Conservation scientists are concerned about the lack of ice on the Great Lakes, which this winter is at an almost historic low.

About 50 per cent of the lakes’ surface area usually ices over in winter on average. Last year was particularly cold, and average ice cover reached 88.8%. The year before that it was 92.5%, the second highest ever recorded. Right now, ice coverage is barely above 15 per cent on three of the Great Lakes (Huron, Erie and Michigan), while ice coverage on Superior and Ontario is barely above 5 per cent. If more ice doesn’t develop in the next few weeks, 2016 risks breaking the record low of just 9.2 per cent average ice cover seen in the winter of 2001-02.