The US Army Corps of Engineers caught a wild winter sight earlier this week (Dec 14) when an ice coated ship pulled through the locks at Sault Ste. Marie.

The freighter, known as the American Century, was traveling south through the Poe Locks from Lake Superior to Lake Huron with a load of coal. The Army Corp of Engineers posted the photos above to their Facebook page amazed with the after effects of a "windy night on the big lake."

Ice cover on the Great Lakes varies from year to year. NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory keeps track of ice cover on the lakes:

Understanding the major effect of ice on the Great Lakes is crucial because it impacts a range of societal benefits provided by the lakes, from hydropower generation to commercial shipping to the fishing industry. The amount of ice cover varies from year to year, as well as how long it remains on the lakes. GLERL scientists are observing long-term changes in ice cover as a result of global warming. Studying, monitoring, and predicting ice coverage on the Great Lakes plays an important role in determining climate patterns, lake water levels, water movement patterns, water temperature structure, and spring plankton blooms.

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