The Great Lakes are freezing over at a rapid rate. These are the numbers for the ice cover as of Feb. 11 (Feb 12)
Lake Superior 95.2793% (94.5851%)
Lake Michigan 79.9828% (82.3368%)
Lake Huron 94.7123% (95.4659%)
Lake Erie 95.8686% (95.773%)
Lake Ontario 31.9431%, the weighted average 86.7% (88%) (data from http://coastwatch.glerl.noaa.gov/statistic/ice/ice_stat_2013_2014.txt )
The forecast from NOAA was for 58 to 62% maximum ice-cover for 2014. We are already at the greatest ice cover since 1994 with a good part of the winter still left to go. The average for the last 40 years is an ice maximum of 51.4%. See fig:
There is still an arctic blast ongoing. Detroit had a new snow record for January. It will take a long time to melt all this ice and snow come spring. It takes 80 calories to melt one gram of ice, but only twenty to heat it from zero to 20 degrees C (68 F) . This may affect the length of the growing season.
Is is climate change, or only unusual weather?