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Posted Tue Mar 5 2013: from E&E Publishing:
Great Lakes community defined by ice ponders life without it
For decades, winter visitors to Apostle Islands National Lakeshore on Wisconsin's rugged Lake Superior coast have marveled at the artistry that happens when water, waves and subfreezing temperatures converge, creating natural ice sculptures as artful as glassworks. The ephemeral event, when upstream rivulets flow into caves at the lake's edge and harden into blue-green stalactites anchored in a bed of clear Lake Superior ice, is so popular with tourists that the National Park Service maintains a telephone hotline to let people know when it's safe enough to make the 2-mile hike across the hardened lake to view what are called the sea caves...Among the most worrying trends for scientists and policymakers is the loss of winter lake ice, a condition exacerbated by higher air and water temperatures, that has changed the way the gigantic lake and its micro-climate behave.
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'Doc Michael says:
Without ice, the Great Lakes are mediocre lakes, at best.

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