The Great Lakes are covered with ice in one of the worst ice-conditions in ages for water travel throughout the nation’s Upper Midwest, according to Fox News on Friday. The current conditions are nearly matching the record-setting ice amounts that developed in 1979.
Ice covered approximately 88 percent of the waters, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory is a federal government facility.
The Great Lakes are vast, having approximately one-fifth of the world’s surface freshwater. While some freezing occurs every winter, this year it has been incredibly difficult for the ice breakers to keep up with the demand of needing the waters passable. Vessels carry salt, coal, and heating oil via those Great Lake routes.
The trend over the past 40 years has been for the ice receding as much as 70 percent due to climate changes throughout. However, there are years which have winters like the one we’re currently experiencing – and it becomes a severe challenge to those responsible for keeping the vessels’ routes open for travel.
On the positive side, the deep freeze this winter limits evaporation which is helping replenish the amount of water in the Great Lakes. Also, ice keeps moisture in the water, rather than bringing it out of the lakes and dropping it on nearby land, equating to less snowfall and rainfall for a time.
Also on the positive side, of course, ice-sport enthusiasts are loving this winter.