What the heck? I was expecting spring when I came home!
A LOT of the Great Lakes ice is THICK still...
When I was flying to BC - we flew over the Great Lakes! And I must say, it was really stunning to see Huron and Superior totally ice covered - with huge fractures all over the place in the broken surface. Very very cool stuff. Makes me wish I had my camera with me...
We're starting to see a MAJOR difference in the year-by-year look at ice cover... Typically this stuff is (has) melted more by this date. The above graph shows total ice cover (all great lakes) on the SAME week, each year. (In this case, the chart was updated March 24th).
By the looks of it - we still had 79% cover!!! Compared to 9% in 2012 and 1% in 2011... That's a HUGE difference...
From NOAA's monthly outlook for April (Issued March 20th) -
PROGNOSTIC DISCUSSION FOR MONTHLY OUTLOOK
NWS CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER COLLEGE PARK MD
830AM EDT THURSDAY MAR 20 2014
30-DAY OUTLOOK DISCUSSION FOR APRIL 2014
ENSO-NEUTRAL CONDITIONS REMAIN IN PLACE AND ARE NOT DIRECTLY CONSIDERED FOR APRIL. THE FIRST GUESS FOR APRIL IS THE 0.5 MONTH LEAD MAM SEASONAL FORECAST ISSUED ONE MONTH AGO. THERE IS STRONG SUPPORT FOR CONTINUATION OF THE TEMPERATURE PATTERN THAT RESEMBLES WHAT WE HAVE SEEN ALL WINTER I.E WARMTH IN THE SOUTHWEST AND COLD IN THE NORTHERN PLAINS AND NORTHEAST. DYNAMICAL TOOLS AND SOME OF THE EMPIRICAL TOOLS SUPPORT THE CONTINUATION OF THIS PATTERN FOR AT LEAST APRIL. COVERAGE AND PROBABILITIES ARE QUITE HIGH FOR A MONTHLY TEMPERATURE FORECAST.
THE APRIL TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK INDICATES AN AREA OF FAVORED BELOW NORMAL MONTHLY MEAN TEMPERATURES FOR PORTIONS OF THE NORTHERN PLAINS, GREAT LAKES, TENNESSEE AND OHIO VALLEYS AND NORTHEAST. SOME OF THE COLD MAY BE AMPLIFIED IN COASTAL AREAS AROUND THE GREAT LAKES SINCE ICE COVER IS PRESENTLY HIGH AND, ONCE UNFROZEN, WATER TEMPERATURE WILL BE BELOW NORMAL FOR SOME TIME. TOOLS FAVOR ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR MUCH OF THE SOUTHWEST QUARTER OF THE CONUS WITH A WEAK EXTENSION ACROSS TEXAS INTO THE COASTAL AREAS OF THE SOUTHEAST. ANTICIPATED RIDGING ACROSS PORTIONS OF WESTERN NORTH AMERICA INTO ALASKA SUPPORT ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR MUCH OF ALASKA. BELOW AVERAGE SEA ICE EXTENT AND ABOVE AVERAGE SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES IN THE BERING SEA ALSO SUPPORT THIS FORECAST.
If the temps stay on the cool side, the lakes will stay COLD (especially with all that ice bouncing the heat away)... That may mean we'll be in for a much cooler SUMMER because of it... Maybe more so for Superior, Huron and Michigan, but still noteworthy.
Anyways... We could be less than a month away from the first MAJOR push of tropical migrants (and VAGRANTS!) into the Great Lakes... Stick here for any weather news about when and where the birding will be epic!!!