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Saturday, January 18, 2020

Ice Coverage Lower than Normal on Lake Huron

Lake Huron Shoreline | by Megan Johnson  

Ice coverage on Lake Huron is sitting at 15 percent, in 2018 at this time it saw 31 percent ice coverage

Ice coverage on Lake Huron is lower than normal this season, but that should be no cause for alarm.

Currently, ice coverage on Lake Huron is sitting at 15 per cent, which is below average but experts say that is still well within the range of normal.

Coastal Stewardship Coordinator Hannah Cann of the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation (LHCCC) says at this time last year ice coverage sat at 18 per cent and was 31 per cent in 2018.

"If we're still seeing pretty low ice coverage at this time of year that doesn't mean to say that ice coverage won't increase up until end February or early March," says Cann.

When it comes to ice and water levels Cann says there are many contributing factors to higher water levels,  with the main one being how much precipitation that falls in the spring.

She says that Lake Huron is a large basin and collects precipitation from Michigan to Sudbury.

"Although ice cover acts as a cap to prevent evaporation coming from the lake it's not the only factor that determines the next years lake levels."

The rate of evaporation from the lakes is dependent on a number of factors including wind speed, air temperature, water temperature, and ice cover.

Cann adds during years when there's less ice coverage and ice protecting our lakeshore, we'll see more erosion on erodible shorelines.

"There are more land-owners in erodible areas that will experience higher erosion rates because of storm surges, but that's not to say that it will speed up erosion in certain high risk areas."

Cann says most of Lake Huron is not situated on erodible shoreline and water levels are monitored at stations in Tobermory and Goderich.

Lake Huron's water level went down by 2-cm during the month of November. This is half of its average decline of 4-cm.

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