The very thought of lake ice might give you a chill, but it serves a very important purpose in the lifecycle of the Great Lakes. This mild weather, though, has resulted in much less ice than is average. From Medill School at Northwestern University:

Wetlands – the marshy shorelines that harbor countless plants and animals – thrive on the constant fluctuation of the seasons and Great Lakes water levels. Not having substantial ice coverage allows for greater evaporation. And evaporation leaves water levels across the Great Lakes lower over a prolonged span of time.

“Having low water levels next year doesn’t make me nervous. Having low levels over the last 10 years makes me worry,” said Donald Uzarski, director of Central Michigan University’s Institute for Great Lakes Research.

Read the full article here.