Lake Superior average surface temperatures coldest in 25 years

Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 5:40 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Lake Superior is experiencing its coldest season in over 25 years due to cool winter and spring temperatures.

Lake surface temperatures are about 10 degrees lower than this time last year, according to National Weather Service data.

“Right now, if you average all of the surface temperatures on Lake Superior it’s right in the middle the lower to middle 40s, typically would we see the temperatures to be in the lower to mid-50s at this point in the summer season,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Matt Zika said.

Lake Superior Watershed Partnership Project Manager Solomon Kronberg says due to the fluctuation in water temperature, the lake will experience more algae blooms.

“We’ve had algae blooms recently, but none of them have caused even close to the number of issues that algae blooms in the southern lakes have caused,” Kronberg said. “Along this general warming trend that will be more common.”

Plants are not the only part of the ecosystem experiencing trouble because of inconsistent year-to-year summer temperatures.

“Whitefish, in particular, are really suffering because they are dealing with loss in spawning ground. This temperature issue really relates to all aspects of what it means to live on the lake or in the lake,” Kronberg said.

Zika says while the water temperature is cool this season, it’s still running above the long-term average.

“If we look historically for the last 30 years or so we have gone through more above normal temperature years than below normal temperature years,” Zika said. “Because of that, the lakes are warmer in the grand scheme of things than they were probably 40 to 50 years ago.”

Kronberg says Lake Superior is the second fastest warming lake in the world.

While experts are unsure whether low lake temperatures will follow later into the season, they remind everyone to be aware of an increased hypothermia risk as temperatures are still sitting in the 40 degrees.

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