Month: December 2018

Environmental Groups Attempting to Block Polymet via Court

The Polymet Mining Inc. NorthMet mining project will put widely loved and appreciated wetlands and forests at risk of contamination. Environmental groups do not feel that these lands will be properly protected under current legislation. (Credit: Photo by Rob Levine InTheAirPhotography.com)

After finding out that Polymet Mining Inc. acquired all necessary permits to start their NorthMet mining project last month, environmental groups vowed to continue fighting the development of the future copper-nickel mine.

Link: Long-planned Polymet Mine Lands Required DNR Permits

This month Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, Water Legacy, Friends of the Boundary Waters and Center for Biological Diversity banded together to file appeals  through the Minnesota Court of Appeals against the permit approvals given by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

For More Information see the news release: Conservation Groups Appeal PolyMet Permits, State Mining Rules (MCEA and partners, 12/3/2018)

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Updates: Enbridge Lines 3 and 5

Enbridge Tower in Edmonton Alberta. The Canadian company continues to see opposition to developments on U.S. soil. Credit: Photo By Kyle1278 at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Enbridge continues to pursue development of two major pipeline replacements while environmental groups continue to fight against them. 

Line 3 could begin construction by the end of 2019

Originally constructed in 1968, Enbridge began plans to replace and revamp their Line 3 pipeline in 2014. Line 3 extends from the tar sands of Hardisty, Alberta, to Superior, Wisconsin where the crude oil is processed. Enbridge is a Canadian company and thus it’s contributions to the Canadian economy were heavily favoured in decisions by Canadian officials to OK the replacement project on the Canadian side of the line.

On the U.S. side however, the pipeline has met with significant opposition by environment groups, intervening Anishinaabe groups (White Earth, Red Lake, Mille Lacs and Leech Lake) and the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Fond Du Lac was included as an intervening party, however, they reached a settlement with Enbridge in August which prevents Fond Du Lac from participating in opposition to the pipeline.

Recent Opposition Attempts

Most recently, opponents to the Line 3 pipeline construction in Minnesota motioned for the Minnesota Public Utilities Comssion (PUC) to reconsider their decision in June to grant Enbridge with a Certificate of Need, but the PUC rejected the motion. This means that the Line 3 replacement is one step closer to construction, although Enbridge must still obtain multiple permits and federal approval. Enbridge has stated that they hope to be at the construction phase in Minnesota by the end of the first quarter of 2019.

The Line 3 replacement project has undergone an environmental impact study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, which can be viewed here: Final Environmental Impact Statement Line 3 Project. The Minnesota Department of Commerce has stated that they do not believe that Line 3 is necessary to meet petroleum needs in Minnesota and that Enbridge does not have sufficient funds to handle remediation in the event of multiple spills.

LINK: IJC’s Science Advisory Board investigates potential impacts of crude oil transport in Great Lakes

Governor Rick Snyder pushes for Replacing Line 5

Meanwhile, the future of another Enbridge pipeline is up in the air. Current Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder revealed that a deal had been outlined with Enbridge to replace Line 5, which lies on the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac. After recent news about the dangerous state of the pipeline that is already 15 years past its best-before date and an accidental impact with a lowered anchor, public support for decomissioning line 5 boomed.

Despite evidence that Line 5 is not essential to meet petroleum needs in Michigan, Rick Snyder chose to work with Enbridge to maintain the future of the Line 5 supply. The deal includes the continued use of the old pipeline while a tunnel is constructed below the Straits of Mackinac to house a new pipeline, a project that would take 7 to 10 years. 

Although Enbridge and Snyder are confident about this potential project, Snyder will be leaving his position Dec. 31 and his replacement Gretchen Whitmer has advocated to decommission Line 5 completely.

LINK: Previous Infosuperior Articles on Enbridge Pipelines

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Redefining Clean Water Protection

A factsheet outlining a December 11th U.S. EPA and Army Corps of Engineers proposal redefining the scope of federally protected waters is available here.

Proposal Narrows the List of Federally Regulated Waters 

When two of the largest newspapers in the USA, the Washington Post and New York Times, simultaneously place front page articles about proposed new water quality regulations, it catches your eye. This must be a major change. Infosuperior provides a take on both of these newspapers stories within this article (scroll down to “Associated Headlines”), but to start, here is a brief overview of proposed, very fundamental and all-encompassing, changes to the way clean water protection works in the USA .

On December 11th, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) released a draft proposal aimed at refining federal authority to protect water quality.

The proposal references regulations and terms like the *Clean Water Act and **Waters of the United States, but is essentially focused on reducing the variety of waters that fall under federal regulation in the U.S.A. Currently, federally regulated waters include lakes, rivers, small streams, wetlands and groundwater.  The proposal narrows this broader list by removing ponds and pools that only contain water during or after rainfall, groundwater, many ditches including most roadside and farm ditches, stormwater control systems and waste treatment systems.

After removal of those waters set out above, EPA and the Corps set out the net result, stating that “traditional navigable waters, tributaries to those waters, certain ditches, certain lakes and ponds, impoundments of jurisdictional waters, and wetlands adjacent to jurisdictional waters would be federally regulated.” 

EPA and Corps Contend Proposal Lowers Costs and Business Barriers 

EPA and the Corps set out rationale supporting a narrowed list contending that it would “result in significant cost savings, protect the nation’s navigable waters, help sustain economic growth, and reduce barriers to business development.” 

As an example, processes within the agricultural sector could be streamlined. To date, farms near streams and wetlands have been restricted from practicing certain types of planting and plowing. The same is the case for use of pesticides and fertilizers that could run off into waterways. The December 11th proposal would lift these restrictions and EPA permits would no longer be required.

EPA also says that states and tribes already have their own regulations, adding that the proposal will allow such entities more flexibility in determining how best to manage their own land and water resources.

A concise “Factsheet” about the proposal, produced by EPA and the Corps, is available here

Associated Headlines

Publications as diverse as the New York Times, Washington Post and National Public Radio headlined the new proposal in various ways, as follows:

NEW YORK TIMES:

Trump Prepares to Unveil A Vast Reworking of Clean Water Protections

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO:

Trump EPA Proposes Major Rollback Of Federal Water Protections

WASHINGTON POST:

Trump Administration Moves to Slash Federal Protection for Waterways

Sixty Day Public Comment Period

Public comments on the draft proposal will be accepted through the federal register for a period of 60 days. Additionally, EPA and the Corps will host a listening session in Kansas City, KS, on January 23, 2019 and an informational webcast on January 10, 2019. Infosuperior will post information to join the webcast as soon as it is available.

Links:

Text of the Draft Proposal

Notes:

*The Clean Water Act of 1972 established the basic structure for regulating pollutant discharges into waters of the United States.
**The Waters of the United States rule came into effect in 1988 and defines those waters which fall under the Clean Water Act. This list of federally regulated waters was broadened to its current form during the Obama administration.

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Beach Cleanups Quantify Plastic Pollution

Confederation College Environmental Technician students participated in an October 12th microplastics sampling and beach cleanup event at Thunder Bay’s Chippewa Beach on Lake Superior. (Photo: W. Vander Ploeg/ecosuperior.org)

Terrace Bay Surfers Assist with Beach Cleanup

EcoSuperior and Confederation College have partnered to conduct beach cleanups and microplastics sampling events on beaches throughout Northwestern Ontario. The procedure being used was developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program and involves collecting sand samples from regional beaches followed by lab analysis at Confederation College. The analysis will determine the presence of microplastics and in what quantities microplastics are found. Data will be submitted to national organizations to help determine best management practices moving forward.  

On Friday October 12th, 2018, Environmental Technician students from Confederation College and Program Coordinators from EcoSuperior braved the icy breeze of Lake Superior and headed to Chippewa Park to conduct a microplastics sampling and beach cleanup event. The students’ participation in the cleanup and follow-up lab exercise contributes to requirements for fall field school, which counts as a diploma credit. EcoSuperior organized an additional cleanup the following weekend (Saturday, October 20th) in partnership with Waasaashkaa: A Gathering of the Great Lakes Surfers. This cleanup and sampling event was located on Main Beach, Lake Superior, in Terrace Bay. Surfers helped the EcoSuperior team collect samples along Main Beach and enjoyed laughs and snacks by the fire after the cleanup commenced. Both cleanups were well received, and the short presentations, prepared by EcoSuperior staff, educated the students and surfers on the presence of plastic debris within Lake Superior. 

Beach Cleanups Contribute to National Database

The cleanups consisted of dividing the shoreline into equal sized sections by running transects across the beach at equal distances apart. Participants then numbered the sections and collected all plastic and garbage within their section; sand samples were also taken from the nearshore and farshore environments in each section. The debris that was collected by Confederation College students will be analyzed in the lab later to determine the composition of the trash collected (e.g. cigarette butts, foam pieces, coffee cups). This data will be submitted to the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup database.

Microplastics Affect Aquatic Organisms

By completing shoreline cleanups and submitting data to larger databases, Canadians can work together to combat the microplastic problem that has been emerging within our marine and freshwater systems. With baseline data being collected, results can be studied to determine the effects of ingestion of microplastics on aquatic organisms. The data may also be used to track the amount and likely sources of microplastics entering the Great Lakes. By conducting shoreline cleanups and microplastics sampling events we can work together to combat the problem that microplastics pose to our Great Lakes. 

All manner of plastic debris was found during beach cleanups in Terrace Bay and Thunder Bay, Ontario, organized by EcoSuperior Environmental Programs and Confederation College. (Photo: W. Vander Ploeg/ecosuperior.org)

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is a national conservation program that provides Canadians the opportunity to take action and lead or participate in a cleanup event in their community. This data tracks the amount of shoreline cleaned and the specific types of garbage that are most common. Shoreline cleanup data is then used to raise awareness of the plastic pollution problem within the Great Lakes.

Main Beach on Lake Superior at Terrace Bay, Ontario, site of an EcoSuperior beach cleanup. Plastic debris can be found on virtually any beach on Lake Superior, in both Canada and USA. (Photo: W. Vander Ploeg/ecosuperior.org)

EcoSuperior and Confederation College  received funding from the TD Bank Friends of the Environment Foundation to sample for microplastics and conduct beach cleanups at three beaches along the north shore of Lake Superior.

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New Sault Lock Construction to Begin Next Year

The “Saginaw” moves through the St. Marys River, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. (Credit: Photo by T. Wurdeman)

$922 Million Overall Project Cost

The Detroit office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“the Corps”) announced in November that it will proceed in 2019 with plans to build a new lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. The overall project cost is $922 million and construction will last 10 years. The Corps has already formally authorized $32 million towards the project, which will be combined with $52 million from the state of Michigan and annual appropriations.

Construction of a new lock will provide additional capacity to the existing Poe Lock, opened in 1969, which now carries over 90 percent of all cargoes. The project will begin with construction of the upstream approach walls and deepening the upstream channel to accommodate modern Great Lakes vessels.

The new lock will be built on the site of the existing Sabin lock, which was operational from 1919 to 1989. The Sabin lock is 7 m/23 ft deep while the new lock will be 9.75 m/32 ft deep to accommodate larger modern vessels.

According to a 2018 study by Martin Associates, Great Lakes shipping through the existing Sault locks provides:

  • $22.5 billion in annual economic activity
  • 123,000 jobs.

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Reports Recommending Redesignation Available for Four Thunder Bay BUIs

A goal of the Remedial Action Plan for the Thunder Bay’s Area of Concern has been to restore our area’s beneficial uses so that they are no longer impaired. Within Thunder Bay, twelve different beneficial use impairments were identified in the late-1980s in need of cleanup, or remediation.

A Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) means a change in the chemical, physical, or biological integrity of the area sufficient to cause (among others): a degradation of aesthetics, fish tumours or other deformities, bird or animal deformities or reproduction, or a degradation of phyto- and zooplankton populations. Significant progress has been made in Thunder Bay to remediate the above BUIs.

Within Thunder Bay, twelve different beneficial use impairments were identified in the late-1980s in need of cleanup, or remediation. A Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) means a change in the chemical, physical, or biological integrity of the area sufficient to cause (among other impairments): a degradation of aesthetics, fish tumours or other deformities, bird or animal deformities or reproduction problems, or a degradation of phyto- and zooplankton populations. Significant progress has been made in Thunder Bay to remediate the above BUIs.

Reports recommending the delisting these four of these BUIs as impairments are now available. Links to them can be found below.

Degradation of Aesthetics (link)

Based on the results of the 2012 Thunder Bay Aesthetics Survey and the 2015-16 Ice Free Survey, which found no evidence of no evidence of persistent objectionable deposits, unnatural colour or turbidity, or unnatural odour, it is determined that the Degradation of Aesthetics BUI delisting criterion has been met. Thus this BUI should be considered to be “not impaired” and can be removed from the list of environmental issues facing the Thunder Bay AOC.

Bird or Animal Deformities or Reproduction Problems (link)

The technical report ‘Assessment of the Wildlife Reproduction and Deformities Beneficial Use Impairment in the Thunder Bay Area of Concern‘ details the methods, field and laboratory analyses, results, discussion and conclusions of a three-year study undertaken in 2012, 2014 and 2015 by researchers within the Science and Technology Branch of Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). The study assessed the status of the Bird or Animal Deformities or Reproduction Problems beneficial use impairment (BUI) in the Thunder Bay Area of Concern (AOC) by examining herring gull and double-crested cormorant colonies. Fish-eating wildlife such as herring gulls and double-crested cormorants are important indicators of exposure to persistent contaminants in the aquatic environment. The results of the three-year study clearly demonstrate that this BUI is not impaired within the Thunder Bay AOC.

Fish Tumours or Other Deformities (link)

In 2007, an analysis of 100 white suckers collected from Thunder Bay revealed a 2% tumour rate (Baumann 2010). In 2013, the analysis of 100 white suckers from Thunder Bay (with a median age of 9 years) revealed a tumor rate of of 1%, with one fish having a 1mm benign tumour. The 2% tumour rate in the 2007 sampled fish and the 1% tumour rate in the 2013 sampled fish are both well below the 5% threshold that experts have established for environmental impairment. The results from these two intensive surveys provide compelling evidence of improved fish health in the Thunder Bay Area of Concern, and clearly demonstrates that this BUI is not impaired within the Thunder Bay AOC. The full report can be found above.

Degradation of Phytoplankton and Zooplankton Populations (link)

Because no delisting criteria were developed for this BUI, the attached technical report “Assessment of the Degradation of Phytoplankton and Zooplankton Populations Beneficial Use Impairment in the Thunder Bay Area of Concern” completed by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) is a screening level assessment, which provides a general indication of the potential for ecological risk. The conclusion of this screening level assessment is that the phytoplankton and zooplankton populations are not impaired in the Thunder Bay AOC.


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December 4th Parks Canada Presentation: Diving Superior’s Wrecks

Diving Superior's Shipwrecks
At 7 p.m. on December 4th, in Rm. ATAC 1001 at Thunder Bay’s Lakehead University, Infosuperior, Parks Canada and Thunder Country Diving will be cooperating to present “Diving Superior’s Shipwrecks.” The presentation is free of charge and everyone is welcome.

Learn what it means to dive in the largest freshwater lake in the world on Tuesday, December 4th at 7:00 PM in Room ATAC 1001 at Lakehead University, in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The event is open to the public and free of charge. Evening parking at Lakehead University is also free of charge and available right beside the ATAC building. See a campus map and photo of the ATAC building in the links at the bottom of this article.

To understand Lake Superior, it sometimes helps to look beneath the surface. The North Shore is home to shipwrecks of all types – including freighters, steamships and schooners. Join Parks CanadaInfosuperior and Thunder Country Diving as we explore the stories behind the wrecks within the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area and beyond. The event is part of Parks Canada’s #WeLoveSuperior series, which aims to draw appreciation and understanding for Lake Superior’s unique natural and cultural heritage.

Past presentations in Parks Canada’s #WeLoveSuperior Series have included talks on peregrine falcons by Brian Ratcliff, Lake Superior maritime history by Bill Skrepichuk and even Lake Superior surfing by Chris Dube.

 

Diving the Gunilda
Diving the “Gunilda,” August, 2017. The 195′ yacht “Gunilda” wrecked on McGarvey Shoal off Rossport, Ontario, August 11, 1911. (Photo: Jitka Janakova, Shipwreck Explorers LLC).

NEW LINK:

Fascinating Photos of life aboard the Gunilda, owned by William Harkeness of Standard Oil,  as it cruised the Western Hemisphere, from Martinique in the Caribbean, to the East Coast of North America, to the Great Lakes where it became one of Lake Superior’s wrecks on August 11, 1911. (These photos are from a hard copy photo album found in a flea market in New York City. The name of the photographer is not known.)

Links:

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New U.S. Coast Guard Bill Strikes Tentative Balance Between Environment and Industry

The spread of invasive species like the zebra mussel, pictured above, has been prevented through regulations imposed by Canadian environmental agencies,  the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Great Lakes States, on vessels that discharge fluids in the Great Lakes. A new U.S. bill includes changes to how these issues are managed. Credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Changing Invasive Species Management

Reauthorization of a U.S. Coast Guard Bill will change how the U.S. prevents the spread of invasive species in the Great Lakes region. The Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018 successfully passed through the Senate November 14, 2018 and was subsequently voted through the U.S. House of Representatives on November 27, 2018.

PDF of the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018 made available by the U.S. House of Representatives Document Repository

The bill is now on its way to U.S. President Donald Trump to be signed into law. This piece of legislation has major implications for how ballast water management practices, the main defence against the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species, will be implemented and regulated by U.S. officials in the Great Lakes region.

The Vessel Incidental Discharge Act

Most of the relevant changes are included in the bill’s Title IX—Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA). Earlier renditions of the bill included a version of VIDA, proposed by the shipping industry, that aimed to reduce the repetitive and overlapping regulations set by individual states, the EPA, and the Coast Guard by moving all regulatory authority over to the Coast Guard with no unique standards for individual states. In April, the bill was filibustered by Congress members who advocated that the EPA should still be involved and that requirements for ballast water management are justifiably varied across Great Lakes states. After months of debate and adjustments, the bill was reissued with compromise between industrial and environmental goals.

Ballast water discharged from a ship is the main form of transportation for invasive species and is included in VIDA as discharge incidental to the normal operation of a vessel. Credit: CSIRO, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35441974.

What Changed?

The Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard authorization Act of 2018 now recognizes and assigns the EPA as the authority on the development of standards for incidental discharge, however these standards will apply uniformly to all states and the Coast Guard is authorized with prescribing and implementing those standards. Furthermore, vessels less than 79 ft long and fishing vessels are no longer required to maintain vessel discharge permits through the EPA.

U.S. Coast Guard Act and the Great Lakes

The bill maintains a minimum requirement for the Great Lakes system: any vessel entering through the mouth of the St Lawrence River must complete a ballast water exchange at least 200 nautical miles from shore—a similar requirement is defined by the Canadian Ballast Water Program in Canadian Ballast Water Management.

Infosuperior article: Ballast Water Management Can’t Stop at the St. Lawrence Seaway

A subsection for the potential enhancement of Great Lakes system requirements is also included that allows governors of Great Lakes States (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) to petition for enhanced standards for discharge in the Great Lakes system, but they must obtain endorsement from each governor of the other Great Lakes States.

Much Remains to be Determined

Although the bill has passed through the Senate and the House, the changes will not be implemented until the EPA submits the new National Standards for incidental discharge management and states will be consulted during this process.

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Relocating Wolves to Isle Royale

Credit: NPS / Jacob W. Frank
NPS staff and vet Samantha Gibbs unload the first relocated wolf off the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service seaplane.

Wolves Wanted on Isle Royale

While islands on the Canadian side of the border have had issues with too many wolves endangering caribou populations, moose are running rampant on Isle Royale where only two wolves remained up until this fall. As Infosuperior has reported in multiple publications, Caribou were transported onto various Lake Superior islands in an effort to preserve the last of the Lake Superior caribou population. Although both situations involve ice bridges and air lifts, the situation on Isle Royal is unique for many reasons.

LINK: Infosuperior Articles about Caribou Relocation

The Longest Running Study of its Kind

The last two wolves remaining on Isle Royale (a male and a female) are extremely closely related because the dwindling wolf population and a lack of ice-bridge connection to the island had lead to inbreeding, with no new wolves to increase genetic diversity since 1997. The male wolf is in fact the father and sibling of the female wolf. We know so much about this wolf population’s history because the predator prey dynamic between Isle Royale wolves and moose has been the subject of the longest continuous study of a predator-prey relationship in the world (1958–present).

LINK: Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale Study Website

While initial observations suggested that the wolves and moose of Isle Royale had found a natural balance in the predator-prey dynamic that would ensure their populations were sustainable, project leader Durward Allen chose to continue observations. Through the subsequent decades moose and wolf populations would change drastically alongside a variety of influences including moose ticks, weather and the arrival of a new wolf in 1997. Unfortunately, an increase in wolf population, most likely due to increased genetic diversity, coincided with decimation of the moose population due to hot summers from 2000-2010. By 2011 only 15 wolves remained with no more than 2 female wolves.

Increasing Genetic Diversity Best Bet for Isle Royale Ecosystem

Without adequate predation, the moose population has boomed to its all-time maximum level and it is beyond what the island can sustain. The National Park Service and partners from the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, US Fish & Wildlife Service, USDA Wildlife Services, US Geological Survey, and University of Minnesota have begun implementing a plan to save the Isle Royale wolf population by introducing wolves from Minnesota, Michigan, and Canada. The goal is to introduce 20 to 30 wolves—the recommended amount to ensure lasting genetic diversity—to the island over the next three to five years.

News, images and updates on the Isle Royale Wolf Relocation Project are made available by the National Park Service on their website, dedicated facebook page, and Instagram @isleroyalenps.

Credit: NPS / Jacob W. Frank
Kevin Fuller with USDA Wildlife Services works with Roger (Poe) Deschampe Jr. and Tony Swader of the Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa to process the first female wolf translocated to Isle Royale.

As of November 13, 2018, 16 wolves had been captured on the Grand Portage Chippewa reservation, 4 of which fulfilled requirements to be relocated. One female and one male were transported on September 26, 2018, and two more females were transported on October 2 and October 4, 2018. Unfortunately the male wolf died on the island in late October; with no obvious cause of death, the wolf body was retrieved and sent to USGS wildlife health lab in Madison Wisconsin for necropsy with results expected in December. The wolf relocation project has partnered with the Government of Ontario and anticipates relocation of Ontario wolves in January.

LINK: Ontario Government Statement on Wolf Relocation Initiative

 

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Lake Superior Surface Water Temperatures

SUPERIOR’S AVERAGE SURFACE WATER TEMPERATURE IN RECENT YEARS:

Lake Superior water temperatures in recent years.
According to the above NOAA data, the average high temperature during recent years (five year average, 2014–2018) is 17 °C.

 

2018 Surface Temperature One Degree Above Long-term Average

Note to U.S. Readers – This article uses U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Data. All such data is provided in degrees Celsius.

The Lake Superior surface water temperature high in 2018, which occurred in mid-August, was 17 °C. This is a degree above the long-term average surface water temperature high of 16 °C; it also took place a couple of weeks earlier than the long-term average high, which occurs in early September. “Long-term” in this instance is a period of 25 years, from 1992 to 2017.

Lake Temperatures: A Complex Topic

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)—as part of its Great Lakes Coastwatch, Great Lakes Surface Environmental Analysis—provides information on Great Lakes water temperatures, including Lake Superior. NOAA water temperature data included here goes back as far as 1992.

Readers should keep in mind that, in comparison to Great Lakes water levels, a complex topic in itself, Great Lakes water temperatures are even more complex. This article involves surface water temperatures. Temperatures at lake bottom are a completely different thing, to say nothing of temperatures at varying depths throughout the water column. Thus, arriving at an average temperature, month-by-month, for all of the water in each Great Lake, throughout all depths, is a complex process.

This article deals with a very specific aspect of Lake Superior water temperatures – peak surface water temperature during the summer and early fall, the variance in peak surface water temperature over the last 25 years and the variance in when this peak temperature has occurred over the same time period, usually in mid-August through mid-September, depending upon the year.

 

What About Lake Levels? Read this October 3oth, 2018 Infosuperior article entitled, “Lake Superior 11″ Above October Average.

 

TEN YEARS AGO:

Lake Superior water temperatures, 2008
According to the NOAA data above, the high surface water temperature for 2008 was 17 °C and took place in mid-August. The average surface water temperature high, going back 10 years and further (five year average, 2004–2008), is 17.4 °C.

 

TWENTY YEARS AGO:

Lake Superior water temperatures, 1998.
According to NOAA data the high surface water temperature in 1998 took place in mid-August at 20 °C. The average high temperature for the years 1995–1999 is 18.3 °C.

 

REVIEW:
  • The 2018 surface water temperature high was 17 °C and occurred in mid-August.
  • Ten years ago:  the 2008 surface water temperature high was 17 °C and took place in mid-August.
  • Twenty years ago: the 1998 surface water temperature high was 20 °C and took place in mid-August.
  • The 25-year average high (1992–2017): is 16 °C and is placed in early September.

 

DATA SOURCE: https://coastwatch.glerl.noaa.gov/statistic/

 

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