Issued 700 pm CDT Saturday March 31st 2012
We all know how much warmer than normal this winter and especially March has been. And our polar orbiting MODIS satellites can certainly validate that. The next 5 images show approximately March 30th of each of the past 5 years for the Great Lakes area 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. I say approximately because we tried to find cloud free days to see the snow cover, ice cover, or bare ground in the area. In a typical year, there is ice cover on the larger inland lakes until the middle of April. These images are all courtesy of CIMSS/SSEC at the University of Wisconsin Madison.
March 29 2008 (below): Notice the snow cover over northern half of WI. Lake Winnebago and Green Bay are mostly ice covered along with many smaller lakes including Lakes Monona and Mendota around Madison WI.
March 30 2009 (below)
March 29 2010 (below): This was a warmer (El Nino) winter, and you see no ice left over Lake Winnebago and Green Bay, just like this winter (2012). Those are clouds over Lake Michigan.
March 30 2011 (below): Lots of snow again over northern Wisconsin.
March 26 2012 (below): Notice how much greener the image is from early greenup of grass and budding/blossoming trees. Those are clouds from Minnesota into the southwest half of Wisconsin and northern Illinois.
Jeff Craven, Science and Operations Officer
National Weather Service Milwaukee/Sullivan WI