When the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA’s Terra satellite passed over northern Minnesota on May 12, 2013, spring had transformed winter’s snowy white landscape into shades of green and brown. But several lakes remained stubbornly white. In 2013, unseasonably cool spring weather has left ice choking many of Minnesota’s lakes weeks longer than usual.
By mid-May, the lingering ice had broken or nearly broken numerous “ice-out” records. Through 2012, May 15 was the latest ice had ever persisted on Mille Lacs, the second largest lake in the state. In 2013, the lake still had ice on May 16; the median ice-free date for Mille Lacs is April 25.
Nearby Osakis Lake, Which has ice-out records that extend back 144 years, the longest of any lake in the state – nearly broke its ice-out records as well. In 2013 Osakis went ice-free on May 13, just a day earlier than the record, which was set on May 14, 1950.
Mille Lacs can be seen as the largest, nearly round lake near the bottom of the image. Osakis Lake is much smaller and less easily viewed, and lies to the southwest of the Mille Lacs. The blue water of ice-free Lake Superior can be seen on the northeast edge of the image.