Freezing of Great Lakes?

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by Dinosaur, Aug 21, 2018.

  1. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Many decades ago, I visited a college alum friend of mine who lived in Wisconsin.

    He took me ice boating which was a scary experience for me. The ice boat was a triangle made from three 2 by 4 pieces of lumber with a sail & could go faster than the wind by not going in the exact direction of the wind.

    The view of the ice from less than a foot away made the speed seem faster than it was.​

    Do the Great Lakes ever freeze over?

    At the time, I assumed we were on one of them, but on thinking about it years later, I wonder if we were on some smaller lake that seemed like a Great lake to me.

    In Eastern Pennsylvania where I live there is no lake which could be confused with one of the Great Lakes, but in Wisconsin there might be. ​
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  3. Dr_Toad It's green! Valued Senior Member

    I don't think they freeze over any longer, but you have an interest.

    Look up the Laurentian divide No pun intended, but it's really cool.
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  5. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Lake Erie certainly does.

    According to this: Superior and Huron have been known to as well. That surprises me, sinceI wold have thought that freezing was inversely proportional to depth. And L. Superior is VERY deep.

    Note that it is not necessary for a lake to completely freeze over to go out on it. L. Ontario is more than 50km wide, but if only the first few kn freeze, you can go out on it easily.
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  7. Dr_Toad It's green! Valued Senior Member

    I wish water could freeze down here a little more often. Gotta keep the plumbers busy, anyhow...
  8. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    You only need a few inches of ice to walk on.
  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Deeper lakes (deeper active layers - partly a function of windy expanse, think drilled well) take longer to freeze over because they are circulating (wind, current, convection, even fish or zooplankton) more mass that needs cooling per square meter of surface - but below about 4C the surface layer stops sinking as it cools (even in fresh water, the density difference isn't enough), the cooling circulation shuts down, the first windless or low wind stretch interrupts the wave-circulation cells, dry air and a cloudless sky lets the IR into space, and in a few hours it doesn't matter any more how deep the lake is. The wind can't touch it, the vertical temperature difference is too small to drive convection. And so it is that deeper parts of Lake Superior often ice over before and more completely than shallower parts (summer warming, currents, inflows, wind exposure cooling once iced).

    The first day in spring that a big ship gets across Lake Superior to the Duluth harbor - the ice cover normal in winter having melted back enough - is marked in the calendars.

    That said, it was early September more than ten years ago on the ferry from Grand Portage to Isle Royale that I was talking to a couple of U of M limnology students ( using the ferry route as a reliable transect), and found they were recording water temps over 20C at ten meters all the way across. They were kind of shocked. The days of large areas of Lake Superior freezing over may be in the past in the future.

    That said, the future isn't necessarily yet:
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
  10. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    How thin are you??
    I need several square feet, or I get claustrophobic.

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  11. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    skis or snowshoes on thin ice
    and a rope attached to a trusted friend

    a snowmobiling local disappeared on a winter night
    his sled and body were found in the spring
    in many places
    the ice is thinner near the cliffs

    and this is just a fat spot on a dammed river

    a few years ago I read of an island in lake superior
    wherein the children were boated to school
    snowmobiled to school after the freeze
    the gap
    remained variable
  12. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    Love is like speeding across the open ice on a snowmobile.
    Until you hit a bump, overturn your snowmobile and get pinned underneath it.
    At night, the ice weasels come.
  13. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    Love is..............................................................................................

    crazy old broad, but one helluvan artist in her way

    I wuz hooked when i heard
  14. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    And a couple of Philips head screwdrivers, awls, icepicks, or the like, carried convenient to mittens on your chest outside of your clothes.
    Supposedly, unconfirmed, the world survived human speed record was set and held for a couple of years by an ice boat on Lake Pepin, a wide spot in the Mississippi River, in the 1800s. It was well over 100 mph - 118 is the common tale number. That was faster than the trains, or anything else available except a long fall.
  15. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    It's the puddles a few inches deep that bug me.
    Depth-of-water - Thickness-of-ice <= Height-of-shoes​
    Else, wet socks.
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  16. billvon Valued Senior Member

    I used to live a few blocks from a bay on the north shore of Long Island. When I was a kid the bay regularly froze over (which was impressive, given that it was salt water.) Each year we'd go out hiking on it, and each year we'd then have to endure the lectures about the kid who fell through the ice and died. We lived near a fuel oil dock, and occasionally they'd have to send an icebreaker in to clear a path for the fuel barge.

    Needless to say that hasn't happened in a long time.
  17. pjdude1219 The biscuit has risen Valued Senior Member

    damn. if true that person is ballsy the lake really isn't that wide and its not perfectly straight.
  18. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Lake Pepin was for a long time a center of ice boat racing and innovation (and then water skiing, btw -
    Ice boats accelerate quickly once broken loose - three to thirty in a few feet, given the right wind - and they snub almost as fast, by hairpin turning.

    The best ice I've seen for skating or ice boating formed on rivers. Probably just personal happenstance of encounter, but a wide spot in a fairly big river will sometimes freeze spectacularly - my all time encounter was an initial freeze of the Saint Croix River, eastern border of Mn, on the long pool that begins at the Hudson marina levee north of the I94 bridge and stretches south past Saint Mary's Point. One year that pool froze end to end and bank to bank overnight - easily enough to walk safely, clear as a windowpane. And one skater that morning - a guy with long blades, speed skater, cruising on miles of perfect ice.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
  19. Acitnoids Registered Senior Member

    I live in Michigan and I can say, yes they do freeze. Not all of the Lakes freeze completely but 50-70% is typical. A few years ago up to 90% of every Great Lake as a whole froze over.

    This event is a yearly tradition. That is Lake Saint Clair (a minor lake that connects Lake Huron to Lake Erie via the Straits of Saint Clair to the North and the Strait of Detroit to the South).

    Here in Michigan we hope for them to freeze fast. Open water in winter creates "Lake Effect Snow". When they are mostly frozen we get less snow. When they are open they evaporate fast and causes large amounts of snow to fall inland.
  20. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    I've lived near Lake Ontario most of my life. Since it's an icky non tourist spot (I didn't live near the Toronto shore front at Centre Island) no one ever checks to see how frozen over it gets. (It's an icky non tourist spot because all of the contamination from the other Great Lakes all goes to Lake Ontario -the no swim here)

    meh so I Googled
  21. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    I had no idea you were even on this continent. I'm on the lake in Etob. It's not very icky here.
  22. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    Where is "Etob"?

    All I get is Etibocoke
  23. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    Does he mean he lives on a "bote"?

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