Great Lakes Weather and Climate - Identifying the Great Lakes


Name that Lake!

You can probably list the names of the Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario.)
But can you match the right name with the right body of water? How about the adjacent states?

Scroll your mouse over features in this image to familiarize yourself with Great Lakes geography.

Location and Configuration of the Great Lakes

Great Lakes region thumbnail

The Great Lakes are massive remnants from glaciers that retreated about 11,000 years ago. Critical to weather and climate in the region is the fact that these glacial jewels were formed halfway between the equator and the North Pole within a lowland corridor that extends from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, allowing an easy exchange of cold air from the north and balmy air from the south. When contrasting air masses move into the region, they meet above massive bodies of fresh water stretching in different directions through a latitudinal span of over 7.5 degrees, or about 575 miles, and a longitudinal range of 16 degrees, or about 800 miles.


The Great Lakes comprise one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water and or 95 percent of the U.S. supply. Spread evenly across the continental United States, the Great Lakes would submerge the country under 9 feet of water!

Click on the image to learn more about the dimensions of the Great Lakes  Lake Michigan thumbnail   starting with Lake Michigan.

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