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88 Percent Of Great Lakes Almost Entirely Frozen In NASA Images

Update Date: Feb 24, 2014 10:11 AM EST
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The ongoing cold season is continuing to set records as Great Lakes were seen frozen to levels not seen in two decades in the images released by NASA. The reason being thought is the frigid air coming down from the Arctic.

According to images released by NASA, 88 percent of Great Lakes- world's largest group of freshwater lakes- were seen covered in ice. The last time the lakes was solid was 1994. In the last forty years, the Great Lake winter ice coverage has reached 88 percent.

"That Arctic vortex came down, and the ice just kept going," George Leshkevich, a physical scientist with the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, told the Associated Press.

Furthermore, the ice over Lake Erie, Lake Superior and Lake Huron is about to reach 100 percent. Lake Michigan is about to get 60 percent of ice coverage.

"Persistently low temperatures across the Great Lakes region are responsible for the increased areal coverage of the ice," Nathan Kurtz, a scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a statement. "Low temperatures are the dominant mechanism for thickening the ice, but secondary factors like clouds, snow, and wind also play a role."

Images released by NASA are so detailed that even the shipping lanes carved by icebreakers are clearly visible.

"We had an early ice season this year, owing to cold temperatures in the fall and early winter," Leshkevich added. "Ice was reported on bays and harbors of the Great Lakes as early as the end of November, as opposed to the normal timing of mid-December."

However, experts believe there is also a silver lining to these conditions. According to them, the freezing lakes will be able to better support the spawning beds of white fish and other delicate species of fish from strong winter storms.

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