ID the ice? Help shipping, boaters

By GREG MONAHAN

Capital News Service

LANSING – Think all ice is the same?

That’s not the case on Michigan’s Great Lakes. And now scientists have found out how to detect the differences – with math.

Ice covers the Great Lakes. (Photo: NASA Earth Observatory)

Ice covers the Great Lakes. (Photo: NASA Earth Observatory)

The development, reported recently in the International Association for Great Lakes Research, is important because it could help guide freighters through Michigan’s icy lakes, assist the Coast Guard in breaking up large ice formations and help weather scientists predict evaporation that could lead to lake effect snow.

Researcher George Leshkevich of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Ann Arbor led the study with help from Son Nghiem of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The two have developed a radar system and an algorithm to detect types of ice formations on the Great Lakes.

An algorithm is set of steps that are followed to solve a mathematical problem.

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