Warm water temperatures in the Great Lakes

March 21st, 2012
MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product

MODIS Sea Surface Temperature product

On 20 March 2012, the Milwaukee/Sullivan NWS forecast office posted a story about possible record warm water temperatures in southern Lake Michigan. Then, on 21 March 2012, the Lake Erie water temperature measured at Buffalo, New York was 39º F, which tied for the warmest water temperature ever measured there during the month of March (Lake Erie water temperature records).

An AWIPS image of the MODIS Sea Surface Temperature (SST) product (above) showed that there were a number of pockets of warm SST values in the 50s F (green to yellow color enhancement) within Lakes Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, with only a few isolated SST values in the 30s F (darker blue color enhancement) in each of those lakes.