Last Ice on Lake Superior Revealed by NASA Satellites

June 4th, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

An amazingly clear day today over Lake Superior allowed the MODIS instruments on the NASA Aqua and Terra satellites to capture images of the last remaining major ice rafts on the lake. Both are near the south shore of Superior. It would be interesting to get some boat-side pics of these if anyone up there is willing to take on the challenge (but don’t fall in!).

The largest ice raft, as much as 1 mile in diameter, is northeast of Ashland, Wisconsin. It is accompanied by smaller ice areas generally to the south of it (click for large version):
Lake-Superior-last-ice-Ashland

A smaller raft of ice remains northwest of Munising and Grand Island, Michigan:
Lake-Superior-last-ice-Marquette

Still smaller, but next to shore (and a little questionable) are two ice areas near L’Anse. I suspect these will be gone tomorrow or the next day:
Lake-Superior-last-ice-LAnse

I doubt that these will last too many more days. Since the water in the vicinity of these ice rafts will be close to freezing, I would caution people to not walk on them. A person will not last long in water that cold. If you walk out on one, and you fall in, your friends in the boat won’t be able to reach you without risking their lives, too.


7 Responses to “Last Ice on Lake Superior Revealed by NASA Satellites”

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  1. Good article with very good advice. Thanks.

    By the way, I too would be interested in seeing Close ups of the floating ice.

  2. Steve Ta says:

    Why is the cloud avoiding Ashland?

    • Roy Spencer says:

      Cold air over the lake slowly sinks and suppresses cloud formation…that cold air is flowing over land and suppressing clouds there, too.

  3. ossqss says:

    We must have something with better resolution than that now days?

    Where is the Google Earth boat when we need it 🙂

  4. Gordon Robertson says:

    Speaking of ice, I have been reading about the early explorers into the Arctic looking for the Northwest Passage.

    I am currently reading the saga of Captain John Ross who sailed up Baffin Bay, in the 1820s, the body of water between Greenland and Baffin Island. He then turned west into Lancaster Sound, which is the official entrance to the Northwest Passage.

    He turned back after sailing 600 miles along the sound after mistaking a distant mirage for mountains which seemed to signal an end to the passage. There is an island there, Banks Island, north of Victoria Island, but there is a passage either side of Banks leading to the west.

    On another voyage, he turned down Prince Regent Inlet from Lancaster Sound to investigate a ship that had been stranded in the ice off Somerset Island, at Fury Beach. The ship was the HMS Fury and had been part of an earlier mission lead by Parry.

    It’s very interesting reading but the point is that those voyages occurred while the world was still in the grip of the Little Ice Age, which ended circa 1850. The waters through the Northwest Passage were navigable in the Arctic summer, although the ice floes driven by winds and currents were unpredictable.

    I have read a few stories about Arctic missions, even in the dead of winter. The explorers and adventurers tell a far different story than modern alarmist climate scientists.

    All of them talk about the effects of the winds and tides on the ice and how the ice is constantly in motion. Ranulph Fiennes walked to the north pole from Ellesmere Island basically because he could not negotiate the pressure ridges by snowmobile caused by Arctic ice flows ramming in to each other. They would cut through one ridge only to be confronted with another within a few hundred feet.

    It amazed me that as he approached the pole, in early March, he had to skirt bodies of open water. He was essentially walking on ice floes that were in motion. He rode such an ice floe down the Arctic Ocean from the north pole to the west side of Greenland where he was picked up by a vessel.

    We are told a lot of nonsense by climate alarmists about the Arctic, especially with regard to what is going on with the ice.

  5. Svend Ferdinandsen says:

    For many years ago around easter i was with my kids at the beach with some smaller iceflakes stranded.
    We pushed one out and entered the flake. I was amazed that it could still float with us three onboard, but we had a great time staking around on the flake in the shallow waters.

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