Watch a time-lapse video of the ice forming on the Great Lakes

Feb 26, 2014

Update: March 5, 2014, 3:36 p.m.

The Great Lakes are again icing up and approaching the 1979 record. See this post for more.

Original post: February 26th, 2014, 11:17 a.m.

This frigid winter has us watching the record books again. The record for the most amount of ice cover on the Great Lakes was set back in 1979. That's when the ice cover reached the 95% mark.

Ice cover on the Great Lakes reached a maximum of 88% on Feb. 13  this year.

But ice cover is down from that number now. As of yesterday, total ice cover on the Lakes stands at 77%.

I shouldn't say "stands." Ice on the Great Lakes changes constantly, according to George Leshkevich at NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

"The Great Lakes react to changes in temperatures and wind very quickly," said Leshkevich. "They're very dynamic."

The recent melt and winds knocked back the ice. Here are the current percentages of ice cover:

  1. Lake Erie - 93%
  2. Lake Huron - 92%
  3. Lake Superior - 92%
  4. Lake Michigan - 53%
  5. Lake Ontario - 11%

Leshkevich says Lake Ontario is a very deep lake with a relatively smaller surface area. The lake can store heat well, so Lake Ontario is more resistant to ice formation.

Even if we don't reach the record for the year with the "most ice cover on the Great Lakes," it's still been a winter to remember.

Take a look at the ice forming on the Lakes in the time-lapse video below. It was put together by Time Magazine (if the video doesn't load for you, click here).

The coolest thing I take from this video is how you can see the moisture (clouds) wafting off Lake Superior. Michigan Radio's Sarah Hulett wrote about this phenomenon saying, "the lakes sweat, just like you."