Mild winter, early runoff spur swirling sediment in Lake Erie

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A mild winter left Lake Erie nearly ice-free. On the first day of spring last week, a NASA satellite snapped a picture of the southern Great Lakes region and showed sediment clouding up the shallow lake.

Photo: NASA Earth Observatory

The colors in the image are accurate. The tan colored-water swirling around the shoreline is sediment rushing in from streams and rivers.

The warm winter brought more rainfall than snow, so there was increased runoff. Since Lake Erie is so shallow, its sediment is easily stirred up as well.

Even with ice, Lake Erie can sometimes get algal blooms, as Echo reported. But the warmer temperatures spur algae growth. The green patches in the picture are algae and other phytoplankton that have been blooming for weeks.

One thought on “Mild winter, early runoff spur swirling sediment in Lake Erie

  1. This is only part of the story The real culprit lies in the Stalled Conveyor. Sediment and organics are no longer moved by the natural ice flow. Just like a glacier, that great ice sheet, although absent this year, has historically transported, pushed, scraped and scoured Eries bottom and shore squeaky clean. No more. The New York Power Authority Ice Boom has stopped an annual event that has gone on for thousands of years. Again, this year is the exception. On average the lake fails to freeze about 6 times per century. But when it does freeze that ice would behave entirely different without an ice boom. Please give it some thought and me some help. Read more at my site Thank you. Joe Barrett

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