Phenomena

Erie Ice

Satellite image showing ice covering Lake Erie on February 5, 2022.

Lake Erie, the shallowest of the Great Lakes, sees large swings in ice cover over the winter. In late January 2022, the lake was nearly completely frozen over, with 94 percent of its area covered in ice. By February 3rd, ice cover had dropped to 62 percent before rising again to 90 percent by the 5th. Air temperature and wind are the primary drivers of Erie’s fast ice growth and decay. As storms roll through, the ice can spread rapidly, but once temperatures rise, it takes very little forcing from the wind for the ice to begin breaking up. (Image credit: J. Stevens/USGS; via NASA Earth Observatory)

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