Lake Erie Getting Ice Covered

The cold weather this last month has led to Lake Erie developing ice cover. This past week, the temperature has been averaging about 20 F (-6 C). Even with temperatures in the 50s and 60s F (10 C to 15 C), ice has formed. See the Figure 1 below.

As you can see in the picture, the ice on Lake Erie is broken up into things that look like islands. The wind blows the ice around and breaks it up. There is a straight line through Lake St. Clair that extends down into Lake Erie. What do you think caused this straight line? Usually, on Earth, straight lines are produced by humans.

Figure 1: MODIS satellites image of Lake Erie February 6, 2013.














Figure 2: MODIS satellite image of Lake Erie from January 24, 2013.

As you can see, on January 24, 2013, just two weeks ago, the Western basin of Lake Erie was ice covered and  there was some ice on the northern side of the lake. You can see that areas of Southern Ontario north of Lake Erie did not have snow on the ground on January 24, 2013 and then on February 6, 2013, there is snow.

As part of GLOBE’s Seasons and Biomes Earth System Science Program (ESSP), I have taken pictures of the Ottawa River that flows through the University of Toledo and then empties into Lake Erie. I took pictures from the shore across the river and then from the bridge upstream and downstream.

Figure 3: GLOBE Seasons and Biomes instructions for taking pictures of ice cover.

You can see in the pictures that the river has ice along the banks. Why is the river not frozen while the lake is? Last week, the river was completely ice covered. But, when temperatures went way up and it rained, the ice melted and washed away.

Figure 4: Picture of the Ottawa River from a) across, b) upstream, and c) downstream

a) across


b) Upstream


c) downstream



Be sure to be safe around ice.

Dr. C

Eco-Comedy Video Competition 2013

February 6, 2013 by  
Filed under NASA

Eco-Comedy Video Competition
Spring 2013
** $1,000 Prize **
Sponsored by:
The contest is open to anyone who prepares a short, funny video for YouTube, which communicates a clear message about climate change.
Submissions must:
  • Be humorous!
  • Address the issue of climate change. We are interpreting the topic very broadly, so it includes topics like disasters, fossil fuels, clean energy, wildlife (like polar bears), politics, deniers, and so on.
  • Reach a broad audience.
  • Be an original production.
  • Be less than three minutes (including titles and credits).
  • Posted to Eco-Comedy Video Competition 2013 YouTube Channel at:
  • Submitted by 11:59pm Eastern Time Zone on Friday, March 1, 2013.
There will be six judges representing the Center for Environmental Filmmaking, Sierra Club, the US Environmental Protection Agency, Mill Reef Productions, and EcoSense. The decision of the judges is final. Awards are based on overall merit of the entries. Judges reserve the right not to grant an award. The organizations listed above reserve the right to post submissions on their websites.
Submissions that are not received by Friday, March 1, 2013 will not be accepted. The winner will be announced at American University on Tuesday, March 19 at the DC Environmental Film Festival at 7:00pm in the Wechsler Theater.
For more information regarding submission guidelines and contest rules, visit:
Questions may be addressed to me at
Professor Chris Palmer
Author of Shooting in the Wild: An Insider’s Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom  (Sierra Club Books, 2010)
Distinguished Film Producer in Residence
Director, Center for Environmental Filmmaking
American University School of Communication
cell 202-716-6160; office 202-885-3408
Center website: