The cold winter temperatures and inhospitable weather of the last several weeks may have many people wondering- is Lake Michigan frozen right now 2022? To answer this question, let’s explore some of the environmental factors that impact the forms of freezing and reach our own conclusion.
Effects of Temperature
It is normal for temperatures to dip below the freezing point in winter, so the question remains of how this affects Lake Michigan specifically. Though water temperatures can remain quite cold, near 34 degrees Fahrenheit, Lake Michigan’s waters do not always freeze this evenly. This is because the lake is so big and the shoreline is irregular, allowing the waters to remain in constant movement. A freeze over usually requires at least thirty consecutive days of air temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit; therefore, it is quite difficult for the lake to stay frozen for long periods of time.
Once the Lake does freeze, however, it tends to stay that way for longer. This is because Lake Michigan is quite ‘deep’ for a lake and the cold temperatures can extend deep within its body. This can allow the lake to remain in a state of partial thawing and refreezing for a few weeks.
Interference from Manmade Influences
It has been argued that human interference in Lake Michigan’s temperature may impact its freezing state. For instance, the large number of cities and industries located nearby could be contributing to increased air temperatures, making it harder for the lake to freeze. It is also likely that pollutants released into the lake by these industries are altering its chemistry too, hindering the possibility of a full freeze over.
Furthermore, the presence of shipping traffic in and around the lake can cause the waters to move and agitate the surface layer. This could impede the freezing process before it has a chance to take hold.
The Impact of Winter Precipitation
Though temperatures play a role in the freezing pattern of Lake Michigan, the amount and type of precipitation in the winter also dictates whether the lake stays iced throughout. For example, heavy snowfall helped lead to the lake freezing solid in 2014, after unusually cold temperatures during December to February.
Comparatively, during warmer winters, Lake Michigan is only partially frozen over and sometimes not at all. This is because the sustained cold temperatures are not strong enough for the precipitation to settle on the lake and freeze it for an extended period of time.
Climate Change and its Influence on the Lake
The relationship between Lake Michigan’s freeze rate and climate change has become increasingly evident in recent years. Experts have observed a decrease in the amount of water icing over since the early 1980s and attribute this to the increasing global temperatures.
In fact, Lake Michigan was fully frozen over in several years during the late 1800s but is yet to reach a 100% frozen rate in over a century. This suggests that the lake is losing its propensity to freeze over due to the alteration of its climate environment.
Conclusion – Is Lake Michigan Frozen Right Now 2022?
The preceding discussion has explored some of the environmental factors influencing the freezing rate of Lake Michigan and provided insight into the lake’s current state of freezing. Taking into account air temperatures, winter precipitation, manmade interference, and the influence of climate change, it can be concluded that the lake is not likely to be frozen right now 2022.
Other Impacts of Lake Michigan’s Freezing Pattern
When Lake Michigan freezes, it levels impacts on the local ecosystem as well. For example, in 2014 over four million gallons of Lake Michigan water spilled over the break wall and onto land due to the expansion of ice. This resulted in the disruption of an entire food chain and wiped out many of the local frogs and toads.
The extreme temperatures also led to an outbreak of invasive species such as mussels and colonial waterbird species. While the mussels create a nuisance for human beings, it is the waterbirds that pose a bigger threat to the existing ecosystem as they outcompete native bird species for food and resources.
Economic Ramifications of Lake Michigan’s Freeze Cycle
Natural phenomena like Lake Michigan’s freezing over affects economics too. After the 2014 freeze over, several businesses had to shut down temporarily due to the loss of power and water. Those involved in industries that rely on water- ice fishing and water transportation companies- also felt the financial fallout.
On the flip side, Lake Michigan freezing over also generated a lot of attention in the media and prompted an influx of tourists to witness the spectacle. This in turn helped local businesses thrive and increased the region’s overall financial output.
Adapting to Change
The last two decades have been particularly difficult for Lake Michigan with weakened freeze rates and more frequent episodes of evaporation. Businesses of all kinds around the lake have had to make changes to accommodate the unpredictable water levels and temperatures. These changes involve installing watertight seals, temperature-proof materials, and other methods of controlling the environment. As Lake Michigan continues to warm, these methods of adaptation may become even more important.
Opportunities for Environmental Action
While Lake Michigan’s freezing rate has decreased in recent years, there is still opportunity for humanity to take corrective actions to preserve the lake’s health. The rise in global temperatures can be partially attributed to pollution and other human activities, and so it’s important that individuals, organizations, and governments all start to take responsibility and reduce their environmental footprints.
Efforts such as reforestation, composting, and conserving water are measures everyone can take to help reverse the process of climate change. On a larger scale, initiatives like the clean energy promotion bill can help reduce the amount of air pollutants that are damaging Lake Michigan’s environment. Implementing such policies could improve the chances of Lake Michigan freezing over in the future.