Skip to main content

Boreal Community Media

Great Lakes’ water temperatures show Lake Superior is odd lake out

Aug 03, 2022 10:10AM ● By Laura Durenberger
Photo: Laura Durenberger-Grunow

By Mark Torregrossa - MLive News - August 1, 2022

We can usually expect Great Lakes’ water temperatures to mimic the summer air temperatures. This is mostly true this summer, except for Lake Superior.

The following graphs show this year’s average water temperature on each Great Lake. Lakes Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario all are amazingly close to the long-term average water temperature. Usually, some part of the year has temperatures deviating significantly from normal. The big deviation from normal really hasn’t happened this year on those four lakes.

great lakes temps

Lake Michigan's water temperature this year (red) versus the long-term average (blue)


great lakes

Lake Huron's average water temperature this year (red) versus long-term average (blue)


great lakes temps

Lake Erie's water temperature this year (red) versus the long-term average (blue)


great lakes temps

Lake Ontario's water temperature this year (red) versus the long-term average (blue)


Water temperatures usually mimic what a few months of surface ground temperatures have averaged. If June and July have near normal temperatures, the Great Lakes waters usually track near normal.

So it’s no surprise that summer temperatures so far are just a few tenths of a degree warmer than normal.

But that is not the case for Lake Superior. Lake Superior became cooler than normal in early February and has stayed there since. Why? The answer is extremely cold temperatures for January, February, March, and April. By extremely cold, I mean a significant deviation from normal temperatures.

Using Marquette as an example, January 2022 was almost six degrees colder than average. February was four degrees colder than normal. March was almost two degrees colder and April was three degrees colder than normal. Four months in a row seriously cooled down the biggest Great Lake. May being three degrees warmer than normal, June two degrees, and July slightly warmer haven’t warmed Lake Superior to near normal.

great lakes temps

Lake Superior's water temperature this year (red) versus the long-term average (blue)


The next two weeks will be very interesting to watch Great Lakes’ water temperatures. We have some hot days on the way. We should see Lake Michigan, in the heart of the heat, warm dramatically. Lake Superior should warm a lot and maybe get to near average water temperatures. Lakes Huron, Erie, and Ontario will be just outside the extreme heat, but still warm above normal.


To read this original story and more news, follow this link to the MLive News website.

Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here