10 October 2011

Great Lakes water temperatures

From Paul Douglas' On Weather blog:
This CIMSS image from the University of Wisconsin shows water temperatures in the Great Lakes, ranging from 45 along Minnesota's North Shore to 60 off Navy Pier (Chicago), to 74 off the coast of Sandusky, Ohio. Depth of the water is a big factor in how much lake water can warm during the summer and fall months. As a rule of thumb: the deeper the water, the colder the temperatures.


  1. I live on the shore of Lake Superior. We see wind direction play a big impact. On shore winds bring top water to us for warm swimming days. Across shore winds push the top water away and cooler water fills behind. If you look at the map of superior, you'll see the warmer regions are also somewhat protected from wind.

  2. I grew up on the Niagara Peninsula between lake Ontario and Erie (closer to Ontario). A comment to make about the depth versus water temperature is that Ontario is the second deepest lake by average depth. It is significantly deeper than both Huron and Erie. I have to assume that part of the water temperature of Ontario has to do with being fed by the shallow and quick warming waters of Erie. I hated swimming in Erie as a child, it reminded me of taking a warm bath instead of being refreshing.

    It is possible that the more southern location of Erie and Ontario also affects the temperature to a certain degree.

    I do find it interesting that islands seem to prevent some shores from enjoying the 70 degree waters the main lake is experiencing.

  3. Wow, those lakes are really hot ! Here in NZ we have mud pools that have similar temperatures but I thought water at those temps' would just evaporate away. Shows to go ya !


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