A rare extension of the shipping season through the Soo Locks at Sault Saint Marie, Michigan is encountering the challenges of nature… but ships continue to plow their way from Lake Superior ports to the lower Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Mike Simonson has more:
A rare extension of the shipping season through the Soo Locks at Sault Saint Marie,
Michigan is encountering the challenges of nature, but ships continue to plow their
way from Lake Superior ports to the lower Great Lakes. Mike Simonson reports for
the Great Lakes Radio Consortium:
An unusually high demand for domestic iron ore from northern Minnesota and
western coal from Montana and Wyoming caused the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers
to keep the Soo Locks open an extra ten days. Weather permitting, they’ll try to
keep the locks open until January 25th.
Glen Nekvasil is with the Lake Carrier’s Association in Cleveland. He says this
won’t become an annual extension.
“This is a one-time request. The steel industry had a late surge in 2003, especially
seeing the tariffs on imports are gone, we just could not take a chance on letting that
momentum slip away because 2004 is a whole new ballpark for them. We got to start
out with every advantage we can.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Michigan Department of Environmental
Quality all had to agree to the extension, since they say plowing ice flows can cause
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Mike Simonson.
A recent study shows a possible link between global warming and lake effect snow. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Richard Annal has more:
A recent study shows a possible link between global warming and lake
effect snow. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Richard Annal has more:
The study was published in the Journal of Climate. When compared with the rest of the nation,
researchers found that the Great Lakes region had a significant increase in the amount of
Adam Burnett is an Associate Professor of Geography at Colgate University. He was the lead
researcher of the study. Burnett found that Warmer lake temperatures make ideal conditions for
lake effect snow.
“As cold air begins to blow across these warm lake surfaces that sets up the lake effect snow
processes. And the thinking is that perhaps global warming is being reflected by increases in the
thermal characteristics of the Great Lakes, which are then playing out in the Great Lake effect
In the study, Burnett compared the snowfall from fifteen weather stations around the Great Lakes.
He examined records going back over seventy years. Syracuse, New York is one of the nations
snowiest cities. In terms of the amount of snowfall, it had five of it’s worst winters on record in
in the 1990’s, the warmest decade of the twentieth century.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Richard Annal.
Long-term climate projections predict conditions will be to at least temporarily stop the decline in Great Lakes water levels. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports.
Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, and Erie are all at their lowest levels in 35 years. But, officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -or NOAA– say its climate outlooks for this winter indicate there’ll be a normal amount of precipitation and well below normal temperatures. Cold weather means more ice cover on the lakes, and that prevents some evaporation. Cynthia Sellinger is a hydrologist at NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab.
“So NOAA’s forecast, saying that we’ll have below normal temperatures means that we may have a decent ice cover and we may not have winter evaporation. So, if that happens and if we get a decent snow pack, we may not decline anymore.”
But, the experts say it’s still too early to say whether climate will change enough to reverse the lower water level trend on the Great Lakes. For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Lester Graham.