Climate change liquefying Great Lakes ice: Study


mentalfloss
#1



Climate change liquefying Great Lakes ice: Study


Climate change may be wielding its heavy hand of influence over the Great Lakes. According to a report (external - login to view) from the American Meteorological Society, Great Lakes ice coverage has decreased by an average of 71 percent over the past 40 years.

The study, entitled “Temporal and Spatial Variability of Great Lakes Ice Cover, 1973–2010,” used historical satellite measurement from 1973 to 2010 to measure the temporal and spatial variability of ice cover in the Great Lakes.

Jia Wang, the study’s lead researcher and an ice research climatologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan, posited (external - login to view) to the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper that climate change has had a hand in the shrinkage of Great Lakes ice. Mr. Wang, however, also acknowledged the role of natural climatic processes such as El Nino and La Nina.

Scientists argue that it is incredibly difficult to predict what the Great Lakes ice cover will look like in any particular year due to natural climate variables. Historical satellite measurements, however, suggest that all of lakes have experienced a significant decrease in ice cover over the last 40 years.

“There was a significant downward trend in ice coverage from 1973 to the present for all of the lakes, with Lake Ontario having the largest, and Lakes Erie and St. Clair having the smallest,” the study’s authors write in the abstract.

Lake St. Clair lost 37 percent of its ice over the 40-year period and Lake Ontario lost 88 percent of its ice. Lake Superior lost 79 percent of its ice. The ice loss of the other lakes fell between Lake St. Clair and Lake Ontario in the same time period.

The situation is not improving, Mr. Wang posited. The climatologist told WBEZ that in the winter of 1979, ice covered approximately 94 percent of the Great Lakes. “This winter the maximum ice cover is about 5 percent,” Mr. Wang said. “It’s the lowest ever since the satellite era,” he added.

According to a PowerPoint presentation constructed by Mr. Wang, understanding how climate change and natural climatic variables have impacted Great Lakes ice is important because the ice cover affects the economy in the Great Lakes region, the ecosystem and the water balance in the lakes.

Mr. Wang warned, according to WBEZ, that the loss of Great Lakes ice cover will have a significant impact on the Great Lakes ecosystem. The study’s authors are concerned that the loss of Great Lakes ice could diminish water levels and increase algae blossoms, which could impact water quality and eventually lead to shoreline erosion.

Climate change liquefying Great Lakes ice: Study | The State Column (external - login to view)
 
Kakato
+2
#2
Climate change,it's happened before folks,we cant do jack about it so why do we worry about it?

Agenda maybe?
 
captain morgan
+3
#3
Don't you long for the good ole days of climate stasis?... You remember dontcha - when we could set the ole global thermostat at a comfy temp and not have to worry?
 
Tonington
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by KakatoView Post

Climate change,it's happened before folks,we cant do jack about it so why do we worry about it?

Just because we aren't doesn't mean we can't. Someone like you could push dirt around to build dykes. Maybe you should update your resume.
 
petros
+1
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

Don't you long for the good ole days of climate stasis?... You remember dontcha - when we could set the ole global thermostat at a comfy temp and not have to worry?

Is that before or after the polar bears went blind?

Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

Just because we aren't doesn't mean we can't. Someone like you could push dirt around to build dykes. Maybe you should update your resume.

Dykes for what?
 
55Mercury
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

Don't you long for the good ole days of climate stasis?... You remember dontcha - when we could set the ole global thermostat at a comfy temp and not have to worry?

I think it's comfy now!
 
Kakato
+4
#7  Top Rated Post
Quote: Originally Posted by captain morganView Post

Don't you long for the good ole days of climate stasis?... You remember dontcha - when we could set the ole global thermostat at a comfy temp and not have to worry?

I just know that after 22 years digging through a mountain in the coal mines that ice ages come and go,sedimentary layers dont lie,volcanic eruptions,droughts,tsunamis,ice ages,are all recorded in the earths sediments.
The coalmines in B.C. mine about 10 different seams,now aside from faulting and folding every one of those coal seams represents a warm tropical period,you can clearly see every single volcanic eruption,dust storm or other anomalys in the sedimentary layers in a profile cut,sometimes right in the middle of the coal seam.The rock inbetween these seams represents millions of years of the exact opposite weather.
I'm a bit of a rockhound also so reading and interperting sedimentary layers is very easy and informative.

Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

Just because we aren't doesn't mean we can't. Someone like you could push dirt around to build dykes. Maybe you should update your resume.

I'm one of the only 2 Kablunaks(whiteys) to get an award for reclamation work in the Arctic from the Kivvalik.
 
petros
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by KakatoView Post

I just know that after 22 years digging through a mountain in the coal mines that ice ages come and go,sedimentary layers dont lie,volcanic eruptions,droughts,tsunamis,ice ages,are all recorded in the earths sediments.
The coalmines in B.C. mine about 10 different seams,now aside from faulting and folding every one of those coal seams represents a warm tropical period,you can clearly see every single volcanic eruption,dust storm or other anomalys in the sedimentary layers in a profile cut,sometimes right in the middle of the coal seam.The rock inbetween these seams represents millions of years of the exact opposite weather.
I'm a bit of a rockhound also so reading and interperting sedimentary layers is very easy and informative.

Stratigraphy reveals all.
 
Tonington
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Dykes for what?

What do you think an earthen dyke is for?
 
petros
#10
Why are they needed?
 
Tonington
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by KakatoView Post

I'm one of the only 2 Kablunaks(whiteys) to get an award for reclamation work in the Arctic from the Kivvalik.

Good for you. Any awards for climate work? Building dykes will be a mitigation strategy in some places.
 
petros
#12
Mitigation for what?
 
Kakato
+1
#13
When your dealing with permafrost things are different,for one the meltwater has no place to go but downhill,and meltwater melts snow very quickly.No dyke is going to hold back all that water if the arctic melts faster then normal.
I lived with a geologist for a bit in fort mac and he told me there was a huge ice dam in the arctic millions of years ago that let go and the floodwaters flowed far enough south to scour the land in the Athabasca enough to uncover the oilsands deposits.
 
Tonington
+1
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by KakatoView Post

No dyke is going to hold back all that water if the arctic melts faster then normal.

I did say in some places...obviously local conditions matter a great deal.
 
petros
#15
What locales and why?
 
55Mercury
+1
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Why are they needed?

Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

Mitigation for what?

Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

What locales and why?

Shouldn't you be paying the piper first?
 
Kakato
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

I did say in some places...obviously local conditions matter a great deal.

We dragged a c-can across the frozen tundra once,it left 2 one inch skid marks where we dragged it,unearthing the dark topsoil under the grass,within an hour the warm rays of the sun had heated up the dirt enough that it was melting and literally running down the skid marks like a creekbed.That dirty water flowed right down to the lake and started melting the shore ice and silted up the lake which made it melt faster then normal.

Point is conditions can change very quickly.
 
Tonington
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by KakatoView Post

We dragged a c-can across the frozen tundra once,it left 2 one inch skid marks where we dragged it,unearthing the dark topsoil under the grass,within an hour the warm rays of the sun had heated up the dirt enough that it was melting and literally running down the skid marks like a creekbed.That dirty water flowed right down to the lake and started melting the shore ice and silted up the lake which made it melt faster then normal.

That's albedo for you. Throw a pop can on top of the snow drift in your driveway, it will do the same thing on a sunny day, though not as well owing to the darkness of topsoil.
 
petros
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

That's albedo for you. Throw a pop can on top of the snow drift in your driveway, it will do the same thing on a sunny day, though not as well owing to the darkness of topsoil.

You sure that isn't absorbtion and not albedo?
 
Kakato
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

That's albedo for you. Throw a pop can on top of the snow drift in your driveway, it will do the same thing on a sunny day, though not as well owing to the darkness of topsoil.

The thing is the water cant go into the ground like in my driveway,it has to head south.This was north of Hudsons bay so everything south was literally affected if only in a small way.
Spring breakup can last as little as a week in the Arctic and by July your lucky if you can see 3 miles over the tundra because of the heat waves being reflected back off the grass.
Such a delicate balance.

But untill the sun starts shining in the arctic in the winter I dont think we have to worry about it not freezing up there.
 
MHz
#21
Does anybody have the stats on how much salt gets used in the roads in a year? And the tonnage the freighters move in the winter.
 
Tonington
+1
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

You sure that isn't absorbtion and not albedo?

Heat is either radiated, conducted, or convected. How much heat radiates away from the pop can is related to it's albedo, in fact how much energy can be conducted away is also related to it's albedo. If the albedo was 1.0, then all of the energy is reflected, none is absorbed, and then there is no heat to radiate or conduct. Snow has high albedo, most of the energy is reflected, and what little energy is absorbed is radiated very slowly. Black top soil, low albedo, the energy is mostly absorbed and radiated away rapidly, melting the snow.
 
mentalfloss
#23
Glad I still have a high albedo.
 
petros
#24
UV and IR are not one in the same. Absorbed UV is turned to IR through absorbtion. Albedo measures reflecting UV and not absorbed IR as heat energy.
 
Tonington
+1
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by petrosView Post

UV and IR are not one in the same. Absorbed UV is turned to IR through absorbtion. Albedo measures reflecting UV and not absorbed IR as heat energy.

An albedo of 0 means all radiation is absorbed, an albedo of 1 would mean none of the radiation is absorbed, not only one part of the spectrum. Check your definitions.
 
petros
#26
UV = shortwave radiation and IR = longwave.

Need a picture?
 
L Gilbert
+1
#27
Jeeezez.
Albedo is the reflective coefficient of sunlight, ALL wavelengths of sunlight.
www.windows2universe.org/eart...on_budget.html (external - login to view)
 
taxslave
#28
That will lengthen the shipping season. Nothing wrong with that.
 
Tonington
#29
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslaveView Post

That will lengthen the shipping season. Nothing wrong with that.

Less ice cover means more lake effect snow. Less ice means lower albedo. Lower albedo means more absorbed radiation. More absorbed radiation means even more moisture for lake effect snow. Positive feedback.

Big snow storms cost Ontario, and other states around the Great Lakes a lot of money:
Tallying up the cost of a big snow storm - thestar.com

Good for the ships, bad for land travel.

Red, below, means ice where there normally would be. It's been a warm year, but it's going to get warmer as the decades march on:
Last edited by Tonington; Mar 13th, 2012 at 04:25 PM..
 

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