SOS participated in a recent social media event put on by the Great Lakes Environmental Research (GLERL) Lab. GLERL conducts research and provides scientific leadership on issues in both Great Lakes and coastal shorelines.
The twitter event dubbed #icechat (twitter hashtag), allowed participates an opportunity to ask questions to NOAA’s ice climatologist. Dr. Jia. Jai recently published a report on the decline in ice coverage on the Great Lakes.
According to the the NOAA study, winter ice cover on the Great Lakes dropped dramatically over the past four decades. Peak ice dropped by 71 percent on average, with Lake Michigan ice decreasing by even more.
During #icechat, (see below) , SOS had an opportunity to share photos of the recent shoreline damage along the Sodus Point beach caused by the February 24th storm. Water levels, (246.6′) were the highest in over a century for that time of the year. During the storm event the shoreline of the beach suffered severe erosion and loss of property. In a typical winter ice would have been banked along the shore creating a buffer for high winds and waves.
During the same storm event a sand bar levee on the Huron side was breeched and water flooded a near by field of meadow marsh within a newly established wetland.
At one time the land, now managed by the DEC , had been used for agriculture. According to an adjacent property owner, the water went so far inland and is now standing in a grove of beautiful hardwoods. These trees may have never been swamped.
According to #icechat scientists — shoreline property owners can expect an increase in erosion without ice coverage in unprotected areas like the ones along the sandy beach. Higher water levels (BV7), can cause more wave action and will result in greater and steeper shoreline impact. Hazardous algae bloom (HAB) outbreaks are expected to appear earlier and may pose a greater risk and we can also expect an increase in Cladophora (green muck) along the Lake Ontario shoreline.