Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Little Ice on the Bay This Winter

Winter isn't over yet, but everyone at ISEA is thinking spring. The recent mild temperatures and sunny skys have helped! This winter (so far) there has been very little ice cover on Grand Traverse Bay and adjacent Lake Michigan. There was ice cover late in the season last year (early March) when nighttime temperatures dropped to -9 degrees F. Lately it has been in the mid-20's at night and above freezing every afternoon.

A look at the ice cover data for Grand Traverse Bay shows a recent trend toward more ice-free winters. Fortunately records were kept by the Traverse City Chamber of Commerce beginning in 1851. A plot of this data by decade shows that after the 1980's there has been a marked shift in ice cover. Thanks to Jim Nugent of Suttons Bay for this plot.

-Capt. Tom K.

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