Spring was stirring things up in Lake Erie last week. Here's the view from our Terra satellite.
After a nearly ice-free winter, Lake Erie was filled with swirls of suspended sediment and algae on the first day of spring 2012. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image at 16:25 a.m. Central Daylight Time on March 21, 2012. Muddy, tan-colored water along the shoreline reveals sediment that has washed out of the rivers and streams that feed the lake. Milky green, light blue, and white shades may also be sediment-rich waters. As the shallowest of the Great Lakes, Erie&rsqo;s bottom can be stirred up by strong spring winds and the currents they generate. The lake bottom is rich in quartz sand and silt, as well as calcium carbonate (chalk) from limestone. Warm temperatures this winter meant more rainfall than snow, and more immediate runoff from streams. River flow with sediment was much higher than...