Friday, February 6, 2015

Cold Beach Trek and Lake Superior Ice Coverage Comparison: 2014 to 2015

Yesterday was partly sunny in Grand Marais, but it was cold!!!  It was a little below zero to start the day.  By mid-afternoon the ambient temperature climbed to around 9, but with the stiff wind the chill factor was way below zero.  Lois and I ventured out anyway and headed down the beach from Agate Beach west almost to Sable River and turned around to head back.

As I drove down the hill into Grand Marais, there was no one behind me so I stopped to capture the following photo.  As you can see, there is ice coverage out on the big lake for several miles.  The recent cold nights have made more ice.

Blowing snow...

Looking west past the structure built by campers last summer.

Ice, ice, and more ice.

Lois checking out the self ice.  That is as far out as we go.  Unlike others in town, we do not venture onto the ice.  To us it is not worth the risk, but to each their own.

Looking west...

Looking east....

I drove out Coast Guard Point and discovered that the road commission has punched through to the parking lot.  Of course I had to check out the channel and get a few photos.

Looking toward the bay (to the right).

Looking straight out across the channel toward Lonesome Point.

Looking north down the breakwall....

A couple of days ago we were hit with day-long lake effect snow.  The view out my front window...

The snow is piling up.  Here is the view out my kitchen window.  The snow height is now half way up the window (around 10 feet).

I went to the NOAA website to check out the satellite image from the lake effect day....

Next I checked Lake Superior's ice coverage.  It currently stands at 55 percent, increasing five percent over the last few days.  Then I checked to see the difference this year compared to last year.  In total, the Great Lakes ice coverage is down considerably from 77 to 57 percent.

The following graph shows the progress of ice coverage this year.  I am guessing that the dips in percentage are caused by winds piling up and consolidating the float ice.  Also notice the steep increase of ice coverage in February.


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