DATABASE: Frozen in Time

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Science  27 May 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5726, pp. 1233c
DOI: 10.1126/science.308.5726.1233c

Researchers are keeping an eye on the world's ice for signs of climate change. For data on one warming spot, glide over to the Great Lakes Ice Atlas by Raymond Assel of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The archive charts ice cover on the lakes from 1973 to 2002, combining measurements from satellites, aircraft, shipboard observers, and other sources. You can summon weekly maps of ice extent or watch animations that portray the waxing and waning of lake ice for each winter. Visitors can also download data such as daily ice cover values. The records suggest that like much of the world's frozen water, Great Lakes ice is dwindling. For example, between 1853 and 1972, Grand Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan didn't freeze over during 17 winters. But between 1973 and 2002, it remained open in 16 years.

www.glerl.noaa.gov/data/ice/atlas

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