A satellite image showing the Great Lakes, with parts of the lakes covered in ice.
Satellite imagery can help scientists track ice coverage on the Great Lakes. This image shows ice coverage in 2009. Image by NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

This has been an abnormally slow winter for ice formation. MLive, looking at data from the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab (GLERL), recently announced “Ice cover on Great Lakes at near record low.”

We’re working on adding ice data to Seagull. There are some great places to check for where ice has (or has not) formed right now:

NOAA GLERL’s CoastWatch is a jackpot. There, you can check the Great Lakes Surface Environmental Analysis (GLSEA), which shows clear color demarcations of ice concentration and lake temperature.

CoastWatch also supplies current ice models and recorded ice levels for the past five decades (notice how low 2023 coverage is so far).

A graph showing previous year's ice coverage compared to the current year.

You can even see satellite imagery.

A satellite image of Lake Superior showing NRCS

U.S. National Ice Center has some great resources, downloadable map files, and charts, like this one showing ice thickness.

A map showing the Great Lakes with areas colored based on ice thickness.

Last, the Canadian Ice Service also puts out charts, historical plots, and helpful daily ice forecasts, in English and French.

Happy observing!

Data + Info