Nov 21-06

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2006: November: Nov 21-06
Precipitation    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Joyce Tormala

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 06:56 am:

This is quite the shot with the gray clouds hanging out over Lake Superior. Precipitation looks to be falling from those dark clouds, too. The prospect of a storm arriving didn't bother Joyce Tormala, nor did it keep her from her appointed rounds with the Big Lake! Check out the color of the water. It's just about the same color as the sand, except for the whitecaps on the waves rolling in. All that water action must have the sand so stirred up it's swirling around and around, changing the shade of the lake from blue to brown.

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 06:58 am:

This is when the lake is warm in the summer. When the waves stir up the bottom and it looks the color of sand. I love it! Nice shot, Joyce!

By Margaret, Amarillo TX (Margaret) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 07:24 am:

Ooooooo, I like it this way. I'm not in a boat, but even the ominous clouds are great.

By Gonna be a Yooper (Joanie) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 07:51 am:

Wow, nice picture, SHE sure looks mean today!

By Lorelei (Lorelei) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 08:09 am:

I hope that is a stump in the water and not Paco;)

Great picture Joyce. You have captured my favorite lake in so many different moods.

By Uncle Chuck @ Little Betsy (Unclechuck) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 08:17 am:

Capt. Paul, question, when I was up at the camp, I noticed the big lake water level was way down, the lowest I've seen it in 40 years, any reason why?

By Marsha, Genesee/Aura (Marsha) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 08:24 am:

Less water!

By Dr. Nat (Drnat) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 08:43 am:

I always loved standing on shore watching a storm roll in.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 08:46 am:

Well, they (the NWS and NOAA) say that it has been unusually dry in the upper Great Lakes for an extended period of time, so if that's the case I would assume it has to do with less recharge of water from the rivers emptying into Lake Superior. The chart datum for Lake Superior is 601.1 feet, which is the average lake level. However, in some places, the level is down by as much as 9 inches. It is forecasted to drop even more, then start rising again by March or April 2007.

There is a website run by the Great Lakes Information Network that has charts and statistics of current lake levels for all the Great Lakes and connecting channels:

Even though the Lake is down, I don't think there is a lot of cause for concern; the Great Lakes have had cycles of high/low water ever since the glaciers cut them out during the last ice age. Is global warming having an impact? I'm sure it is by changing seasonal rainfall patterns, but global warming too has happened countless times in Earth's history. In fact at times it has been much warmer than today.....

By Daveofmohawk (Daveofmohawk) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 08:57 am:

There are several reasons for the lake level being so low. One of which of course is low precip for the last couple of years. Also a big factor is evaporation; both summer and winter, a lot of hot weather causes more evaporation and less ice cover in the winter allows for more evaporation. Believe it or not evaporation is as big of a factor as the amount of precip that we get.

By maija in Commerce Township (Maija) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 09:38 am:

thanks for the intelligent insight, Marsha!

By JAD, Oscar, MI (Jandalq) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 09:46 am:

From Lake Superior Magazine, April-May, 2002, pp.18-22 in an article by Konnie LeMay:
"'...some researchers speculate that the lakes might be on a 30- or even a 160-year cycle of high and low waters,' says Cynthia Sellinger, a water level expert with the Great Lakes Environmental Reserach Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan....Lake Superior's vast surface area (31,700 square miles) and vast water volume (3 quadrillion gallons) make it a prime candidate for winter-time evaporation. The water absorbs heat in the summer and retains it in the winter. When the lake remains ice-free most of the winter...nothing blocks the warmer water from the colder air and evaporation sucks water away. Not quite half of the water lost from Lake Superior each year leaves via evaporation..."

By Gonna be a Yooper (Joanie) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 09:54 am:

Lake Superior:

Largest freshwater lake in the world, one inch of surface water is equal to 553 billion gallons. Superior is the coldest, deepest, and highest in elevation of any of the Great Lakes. Old timers say that Superior doesn't give up her dead. If you go down on Superior, chances are your body will not be found. This is one lake that you need to know what your doing if you play in her waters. Last time Superior totally froze over was 1997

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 09:55 am:

Good answer Marsha!!
Mr. Deb

By Laura J. Rye (Jsrye) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 10:05 am:

Hey Joanie (Gonna be a Yooper)....when are you going to move to the UP?

By FJL (Langoman) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 10:18 am:

See how easy it is. The world and it's knowledge is at your fingertips. The internet is there for everybody. All you have to do is use it.......

By Gonna be a Yooper (Joanie) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 10:24 am:

Moving to the UP when hubby turns 60. So countdown is 2 years, 10 months, unless we win the Lotto, then we'll be up there so fast that you'll see the dust fly!

By Kenty (Dashamo) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 11:24 am:

Gonna be a Yooper--See you in 2 years, 10 months!! LOL

By Clara Huhak (Mugga) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 11:48 am:

What a nice picture of the lake. Looks so peaceful. Also love the picture of the bridge!

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 12:03 pm:

Au contraire joanie.... Lake Superor did freeze completely over, albeit very breifly, in 2002 ;-)

By Jacobsville (Barb) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 12:10 pm:

At this website, Lake Superior Fun Facts:
it says that it "almost" froze-over in 2003.

By Julie from Novi (Geeper) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 12:11 pm:

Hey, I know that spot. That stump is usually right at the water's edge and if the waves are big, the water hitting the stump will get you wet!

By Uncle Chuck @ Little Betsy (Unclechuck) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 12:29 pm:

Thanks for the response, I've observed the lake all my life, and I know she's some what cyclical, but she seem's really low right now, hope she'll recover this winter.

By Gonna be a Yooper (Joanie) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 12:51 pm:

Oops, the Captain should know. So much for relying on the "Net"!

By Dr. Nat (Drnat) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 02:04 pm:

I remember reading something from the Canadian Coast Guard (I think that's who it was, or it might have been the Canadian Geological Survey) that Lake Superior did freeze completely during the 2002-2003 winter.

So onto the lake level... I like to tell my students that in geology, there is rarely one single culprit that causes the phenomenon we see. Lake Superior is no different. Lower precipitation, higher evaporation, land use around the lake, changes in the drainage basin of the lake... All these can have effects on the lake level, and if you get the right combination, the lake level will rise dramatically or fall dramatically.

I better get back to class! The students are restless...

By Little M (Littlem) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 04:43 pm:

that looks like agate beach to me. i recognize the stump as well.

i have so many wonderful memories of the misery bay area. great picture! thanks so much!!

By tom ghering (Tomgheringtcmi) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 10:59 pm:

By tom ghering (Tomgheringtcmi) on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 - 11:05 pm:

I found this article interesting, although it only applies to Lakes Michigan and Huron.

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