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.













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