"Great Lakes Ice Cover Plummets To Record Mid-February Low"

"In the midst of an unusually warm winter across much of the northern United States and southern Canada, the Great Lakes now have the least ice cover on record for the middle of February, which is typically when the ice begins to reach its maximum extent for the season.

As of Feb. 15, ice covered only 6 percent of the Great Lakes, compared with a historical average for the date of 41 percent, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. The previous record low for Feb. 15 was 7.8 percent in 2012.

This winter’s lack of ice — part of a longer-term decline in Great Lakes ice coverage tied to human-caused climate change — could have implications across and downwind of the lakes not just for the rest of this winter and the coming spring and summer, but all the way into next winter.

“There have been significant downward trends in lake ice for many years. This year is a continuation of warming winters and declining ice,” University of Michigan climate researcher Richard Rood said in an email. “The downward trend has been punctuated by some years of high ice coverage, related to cold air outbreaks.”"

Dan Stillman reports for the Washington Post February 17, 2023.

Source: Washington Post, 02/17/2023