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Great Lakes start 2024 with smallest amount of ice in at least 50 years

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By illuminem briefings 🌎

· 2 min read


illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Washington Post or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: The Great Lakes experienced the lowest New Year’s Day ice cover in at least 50 years, with only 0.35% ice coverage, significantly below the average 9% for this time of year
This trend, part of a five-decade decline, is attributed in part to human-caused climate change.

🔭 The context: NOAA data indicates a consistent decrease in Great Lakes ice cover since 1973. The annual average maximum ice coverage has dropped by approximately 5% per decade, with significant yearly variability
The decline affects various industries and environmental factors, including shoreline protection, spawning grounds for microorganisms, and snowstorm patterns.

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: Decreasing ice cover in the Great Lakes has broad ecological implications
It increases shoreline erosion due to unprotected coastlines, impacts local ecosystems, and can lead to more intense snowstorms due to unfrozen lake surfaces

⏭️ What's next: Continued warming of the Earth suggests further decreases in ice cover. This change could affect commercial shipping, tourism, and local economies dependent on winter lake activities, alongside ongoing environmental consequences

💬 One quote: "There’s a clear trend, and ice cover in the Great Lakes is decreasing." - James Kessler, NOAA.

📈 One stat: Between 1973 and 2017, the average Great Lakes ice cover dropped by about 70%.

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