cold weather = ice

January 22, 2013 by  
Filed under Dr. C's Blog

Update: January 23, 2013

The cold wave continues and ice formation has progressed nicely. The Ottawa River is now completely frozen over except for a few open spots. The open spots may be associated with warm water coming into the river from drains. The darker areas in the photographs are actually frozen. They just don’t have snow on the ice. Look at the changes from yesterday below. Also, ice is forming fast on the Great Lakes. I included another MODIS image to compare with the one further below. Finally, the frost tube I have in my yard shows that the ground is frozen to about 10 cm. This is the deepest I have seen it freeze. One reason it is freezing so deep is that there is little snow cover to insulate the ground. I’ll post a picture later today.

Upstream 1-23-2013

Downstream 1-23-2013


MODIS image for 1-22-2013 with some close- ups of pretty ice formations.

Lake Michigan near Chicago. Notice the wispy nature of the ice as it is being blown by the wind. Lake effect clouds are to the east of the ice over Lake Michigan.


Lake Huron North Channel, the North Channel is covered with ice. Notice that Georgian bay was getting a lot of ice on it on the northeast side on Tuesday, January 22, 2013.

January 22, 2013

As many of you know, I like to follow the formation of ice on ponds, rivers and lakes, especially the Great Lakes. I guess I’m an ice geek. In addition to watching the ice form and wondering when it will form, I have a more personal interest in ice. I love to ice skate and put an ice rink in my back yard each winter.

Last year was a total bust as far as ice goes. Even making ice in the back yard was hard. I only got to skate 3 times total. This year is a different story although the ice has not been too good yet. I have skated 5 times so far. The cold weather this week in the Great Lakes is aiding ice formation. The ice in my backyard is in great shape. And, ice is forming on ponds, lakes and rivers..

As part of GLOBE’s Seasons and Biomes Project, I take pictures of the Ottawa River to document ice formation. With low temperatures last night around 0 F and temps today still in the single digits, ice is forming fast. But, it isn’t forming as fast as I thought it would. I thought the river would be completely frozen over this morning. The water does not flow very fast. As you can see in the pictures below, the middle of the river is open today. I found it really interesting that I could see the ice forming in the water that is moving. There was ice in the water. I think the ice is piling up when it hits ice on the sides.

Upstream January 22, 2013

Downstream January 22, 2013

I took the pictures from a bridge on the University of Toledo campus. REMEMBER, DO NOT WALK ON ICE OVER A WATER BODY AS YOU MAY FALL THROUGH.

Lake Effect Snow

Temperatures are forecast to remain really cold for a couple more days. You may have heard that the lake effect snow has been impressive in Erie, PA and along the south shore of Lake Erie. Erie broke the most snow on any January day record yesterday, Jan. 21, 2013. We even got an inch of snow last night at my house in Temperature, Michigan that was lake effect all the way from Lake Michigan, 150 miles away.















You can see the cloud streamers coming off of the lakes in this satellite image and radar image.

I’ll be looking for ice to form rapidly on the Great Lakes this week as temperatures stay cold. The high winds tend to inhibit ice formation though because the wind breaks the ice up and also mixes the water. The satellite image below is from the MODIS sensor. NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab (GLERL) collects the images in a program called CoastWatch. You can’t see a lot in the image because of the lake effect clouds. But, this image from Sunday, Jan 20, 2013 shows that there is not much ice on the Great Lakes. The north channel of Lake Huron and Green Bay of Lake Michigan are just starting to ice up.













Launch of Landsat 8 February 11, 2013

January 17, 2013 by  
Filed under NASA

The next Landsat satellite in the series, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (to be called Landsat 8 once it’s in safely in orbit), is on schedule to launch on February 11 from Vandenberg AIr Force Base in southern California.  If people want to stage an event about it, and publicize their geospatial programs, a Launch Party Kit is available.  Please see message from Holli Riebeek, forwarded.

Did you know that the longest continuous view of Earth from space comes from the Landsat satellite program? Its 40-year archive offers a priceless record of our changing communities and landscapes. The record continues on February 11, 2013, when NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey are scheduled to launch the eighth Landsat satellite, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission.

We invite you to participate in this exciting and historic milestone in humanity’s work in space. You can join others across the planet in celebration of this much-anticipated event by hosting a launch party!
Planning and hosting your own launch party with NASA resources is fun and easy, and it’s a wonderful way to engage your community in your interests and the work you do.

Everything you need to host a great party and join in the launch fun is at your fingertips, at this URL:<>

You will find activities and decorations to make your party fun for all ages. You’ll be able to watch the launch and associated events live, including talks from NASA and USGS scientists and engineers.

We hope you’ll join us and people around the world to celebrate! Contact us with any questions by using the “Contact Us” link on the launch party website (lower right).

Holli Riebeek, Sigma Space
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Landsat Education & Public Outreach

GLOBE Surface Temperature Field Campaign Final Report

The GLOBE Surface Temperature Field Campaign was a success once again this year. Thank you to all of the students and teachers who make this field campaign possible. And, thank you to GLOBE for supporting this type of scientific investigation. A total of 17 schools have entered data so far as of January 17, 2013 and I know that several others took observations and are working on getting their observations in. This is a smaller number of participants than the last several years when between 40 and 60 schools participated. I suspect that the change over to the new GLOBE website may have caused extra confusion and challenges. The amount of errors in the reported data seemed low which shows the diligence of the students and teachers in taking these observations.

Here are the schools that have posted observations so far.

Crestwood High School, Daerborn Heights, Michigan

Taaksi Basic School, Estonia, Thanks for participating again.

Kilingi-Nomme Gymnasium, Estonia, Thanks for participating again.

Alexander von Humbolt Gymnasium, Konstanz, Germany

The University of Toledo, This is me and my children.

Westchester Area School, Hi Trenton, it is good to see your data.

Chartiers-Houston Jr./Sr. High School, Good to see you Mr. Pop.

Burlington County Institute Of Technology, New Jersey

West Union High School, Ohio

Birchwood School, Ohio – Hi Mrs. Brown.

Lakewood Catholic Academy, Ohio – Great that you got on Mrs. McGuire

Roswell-Kent Middle School, Ohio – Hi Mr. Frantz.

Mohican School in the Out of Doors, Ohio – Hi Susan and Steve

Brazil School, Trinidad and Tobago

Main Street School, Norwalk, Ohio – Hi Mrs. Burns.

The Morton Arboretum Youth Education Department, Illinois

John Marshall High School, Glen Dale, West Virginia – Hi Mrs. Clark. Thank you for having your students participate.

Here is a view of the Eastern United States from the GLOBE visualization page showing the observations on December 13, 2012. The surface temperature was coldest near Cleveland in eastern Ohio and warmest in southern West Virginia.

The school that was most diligent was Lakewood Catholic Academy near Cleveland, Ohio. The students and teacher took surface temperature observations on every day in December including Christmas and New Years Eve. That is dedication. Please look at the time series plot below that I made from the GLOBE visualization page.

There are many things that can be done with the observations. Now that the field observations are over, students can use the observations to develop inquiry-based research projects. I want to outline some examples.

In the past, students have looked at the difference in surface temperature under different cloud conditions, between schools at different elevations and latitude, and between schools in North America vs. Europe. How does land cover affect surface temperature? How does the number of condensation trails affect surface temperature? How does surface temperature change from day to day and season to season.

Dr. C