Great Lakes

The Big Picture – Frozen Style

If you are wondering about the big picture, here’s a plot of ice coverage over the eastern Great Lakes as of January 15, 2014. I found it yesterday after posting the photo from Belvedere Hill. Click on the image and you will be able to see the legend which makes things pretty clear. Here’s the link to the site from where the map was taken. (The map you see below is #5 on the list if you follow the link.)

When you click on the image below you can see the Big Sound is in what’s considered ‘Medium Lake Ice’, which thins out until you hit the larger part of Georgian Bay. Lake Erie appears to be ‘blessed’ with even more substantial ice coverage than Georgian Bay. (JB – Communications Officer).

Ice_Coverage_Thickness_2014-01-15

An American Perspective on Low Water Levels

We in Georgian Bay are not the only ones wringing our hands with the prospect of low water levels this summer. Water levels are just that, level. Despite scientists telling us that Georgian Bay is likely to face even lower water levels over the centuries and millennia to come as the land continues to experience post-glacial isostatic rebound, the reality now is that low water levels in Georgian Bay mean lower levels in Lake Michigan and the west coast of Lake Huron. So if there is a ‘conspiracy’ to steal Great Lakes water the impact will be felt by both nations. With that out of the way, here’s a link to a report (USA Today – Low Great Lakes water levels plague shipping, recreation) that suggests the water levels will rebound this summer, but not as much as we would like.

That means paying more attention to the charts. What was known to be close to the surface, and a hazard, will now be visible and easily avoided. But what wasn’t a problem last year or the year before will now be lurking just below the surface, ready to ding a prop, or take off the whole lower unit. So to take a line from the television show Hill Street Blues, “Be careful out there”.

Low Water? Better Than No Water for These Guys. (March 2013)
ParrySights-5312

Great Lakes Data Resource

I was provided information by Gerry Shipman of Sound Boat Works and a squadron member concerning ice coverage maps for the Great Lakes a month ago, and promptly forgot about it.

With a little bit of digging I’ve managed to find the site the map was sourced from at the NOAA (US – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency). This site has lots of other information that will be of interest to squadron members including winds, waves, surface currents and much more.

There is also specific information on Lake Huron including Georgian Bay. I’ve pasted a screen clipping from one of the composite Lake Huron pages. If you go to the page you will be able to click on the individual maps for a larger image and more detail. It’s worth a look. I’ve placed a link directly from the image below to the corresponding web page in case you want to take a closer look.

NOAA_GL_Snap