One effect of this year’s persistently cold winter is showing up on the world’s largest group of freshwater lakes. According to an analysis by NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, ice covered 88.4 percent of the Great Lakes on February 13, the Weather Channel reports. Not since early 1994 has ice been so widespread on the Great Lakes. By way of comparison, the 40-year average is just over 51 percent of ice coverage.
There are interesting ramifications of the thick ice this winter and for the upcoming spring. First, the caves near the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore are now open for amazing sightseeing, accessible by foot for the first time in five years. Secondly, the Coast Guard will have a greater challenge of breaking through ice following the March opening of the shipping lanes of the Great Lakes.
For more information on the Great Lakes ice coverage visit the Weather Channel.