GREAT LAKES ICE COVER DECLINE

Digital Art on Metal 40" W X 30" H

For data sources on the science click here.

THE SCIENCE

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WHAT'S ALARMING

The average annual ice coverage for the Great Lakes during 2003-2013 was less than 43% of the coverage over the prior half-century, lower than any other decade during the period of measurement. “...Looking year to year, things can swing wildly from a lot of ice to a little ... However, while the yearly (and even the five-year running average) can be different from year to year (or decade to decade), the trend in ice cover over all of the lakes since 1973 is downward....[S]ome lakes are losing ice cover faster than others. The greatest declines have been in Lake Superior, Huron, St. Clair, and Erie. The decreasing maximum ice extent of Great Lakes Ice is due to a combination of natural climate influences as well as influences from man-made climate change.” *

Less ice, together with more intense and frequent storms, leaves shoreline vulnerable to increased risk of erosion and flooding.

*Great Lakes ice cover decreasing over last 40 years, Tom Liberto, July 9, 2018, NOAA, Climate.gov

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