Great Lakes Ice Cover Could Break Record

VIIRS image from March 4th. Credit: NOAA/NASA
VIIRS image from March 4th. Credit: NOAA/NASA

Ice cover on the Great Lakes has reached a whopping 91 percent and is closing in fast on the highest percentage ever recorded, according to new data from NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research.

The latest analysis from the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory showed that on March 4th the Great Lakes ice cover reached 91.0%, the highest percentage this year and second highest since 1973.

The record high of 94.7 percent was set in 1979, but several more days of very cold temperatures and low wind speeds could result in a new record, NOAA said.

Breaking the record will depend on conditions in Lake Ontario, since the other lakes are already mostly covered in ice. The 91% ice cover is up from the 88% recorded in February 13.

The ice cover and winter weather have taken a toll on Great Lakes shipping this season, but has had some benefits such as allowing access into typically inaccessible ice caves near Lake Superior.

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