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Spatial and temporal aspects of the lake effect on the southern shore of Lake Superior

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A climate-monitoring network was implemented in a large private preserve along the southern shore of Lake Superior. The network uses a dense sampling design to assess the spatial and temporal influence of a large, cold body of water on adjacent terrestrial surfaces. Based on a 3-year record, near-shore sites are 1–2°C cooler than sites 5 km inland in spring and summer, and 1°C warmer in winter. Near the shore, winds are from the NNW most of the year, and are much stronger in winter. Inland, southwesterly flow is typical and overall wind velocity is lower and more consistent. This decoupling is attributable to the influence of the Huron Mountains, a topographic barrier that restricts the lake effect to a narrow coastal zone. A 2-year record of hourly air temperature measurements from 26–30 sites across the study area demonstrates that the mean daily temperature can differ by as much as 11°C, but the average difference is 2.5–3.0°C.

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We are grateful to the Huron Mountain Club for the opportunity to work within its boundaries. The Huron Mountain Wildlife Foundation provided generous logistical support at the Ives Lake Field Station. HMWF Director Kerry Woods has been a source of consistent support and sound advice. Wayne Thorpe, Manager of the Ives Lake station, maintains the facility in a manner that maximizes its effectiveness, and provides a rich source of local history and lore. Instrumentation was provided through equipment-matching programs at the Universities of Cincinnati and Delaware. The paper greatly benefited from helpful comments by an anonymous reviewer.

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Correspondence to Kenneth M. Hinkel.

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Hinkel, K.M., Nelson, F.E. Spatial and temporal aspects of the lake effect on the southern shore of Lake Superior. Theor Appl Climatol 109, 415–428 (2012).

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