The Big Superior Storm

A particularly strong rain and windstorm Tuesday night caused the waves in Lake Superior to reach 14.5 feet off the North Entry of the Portage Waterway near Houghton. The water temperature also dropped a dramatic 20 degrees from the surface of the big lake to the bottom.

Guy Meadows, director of the Great Lakes Research Center, is calling it “The Big Superior Storm.”

“I am continually amazed at how fast this big lake changes,” Meadows said. “This not only includes how fast it responds to the wind in generating very large waves, but also how fast its temperature changes in response to storm forcing—like 20 degrees in the past day—but also how fast it responded to last winter’s big chill.”

Meadows and his team of Great Lakes Research Center scientists are studying Lake Superior, its physical, biological and meteorological characteristics. They bring the expertise of many disciplines to their research; there are engineers who are doing biology and biologists who are doing engineering.

Their goal is to understand the rate and magnitude of changes in the Great Lakes so that engineers can design physical structures like pipelines and bridges appropriately.

For more on Lake Superior and other Great Lakes research being conducted at Michigan Tech, see Great Lakes Research Center.

See a video clip of the Waves

Waves in Lake Superior to reach 14.5 feet off the North Entry of the Portage Waterway
North Entry buoy wave height graph and a video take by Colin Tyrrell.
Big Lake Superior waves shown on NOAA GLERL Nowcast image from Sep 11, 2014
Big Lake Superior waves shown on NOAA GLERL Nowcast image from Sep 11, 2014

2014 Green Lecture Series: Rethinking Local Energy Choices & Costs

2014 Green Lecture Series presents:
Rethinking Local Energy Choices & Costs
By Abhilash Kantamneni, PhD student, MTU Dept. of Computer Science

Date & Time: Thursday, September 11, 7:00-8:30 pm

Location: G002 Hesterberg Hall, Forestry Building, Michigan Tech
Cost: FREE Enjoy coffee, tea & refreshments

About the Lecture:
Residents of our community pay the 2nd highest electricity rates among the 48 contiguous United States, and almost twice as much as the rest of Michigan! Despite our large number of heating degree days and high electricity rates, much of our local population cannot afford to invest in energy-saving technologies and appliances as they are already struggling to simply make ends meet. Our electricity rates have doubled over the last dozen years, and are expected to increase significantly over the next few years. This talk will focus on how our community can rethink our energy use and implement creative strategies to save energy costs. Find out what it means for our community to be a Quarterfinalist competing for the $5,000,000 Georgetown University Energy Prize.

About Abhilash Kantamneni (‘AH-bee-LAA-sh CAN-tum-NAY-ni’)
Abhi is a PhD student in Computer Science at Michigan Tech. His research uses artificial intelligence and agent based programming to build agile and smart microgrids: power system devices of the future. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Anna University, India in 2008 and obtained a Masters Degree in Physics from Michigan Tech in 2013. Abhi is also the co-founder of iThoughtz.com, a software company in India that now employs 15 full time engineers. Having never seen snow before in his life, he made the unfortunate decision of flying to Houghton in the middle of the winter of 2009. Since then however, he has come to think of the UP as his second home. Abhi is committed to using his education to help the community around him, and strives to be a good ambassador for his family, teachers, culture and country.”

Cosponsored by:
Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, Michigan Tech Dept. of Social Sciences, Michigan Tech Center for Water & Society, Keweenaw Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, and Keweenaw Land Trust

Children’s Science Exploration, Boat Rides and Talks for Alumni Week

IMG_8980bChildren’s Science Exploration: Launcher Project – Great Lakes Research Center; Have you ever used a ball thrower or a diving board? These are example of real life ‘launchers’ — machines that propel an object. Launchers work by storing potential energy and then releasing it as kinetic energy (energy of motion) which is used to propel an object. In this activity, families will design their own launchers using plastic spoons, popsicle sticks, and rubber bands.

Presented by Anza Mitchell, National Society of Black Engineers – Academic Excellence Chair, Mechanical Engineering – Graduate Student, Michigan Technological University and Terrianna Bradley (General Motors Ride The Waves program student, 3rd year), Michigan Technological University, Environmental Engineering, National Society of Black Engineers-Programs Chair; Black Student Association-Secretary; Michigan Tech Dance Team and Society of Intellectual Sisters

Children’s Science Exploration: Launcher Project: Anza Mitchell and Terrianna Bradley
Children’s Science Exploration: Launcher Project: Anza Mitchell and Terrianna Bradley

As part of the Children’s Science Exploration The Houghton Robotics team made a presentation of their projects including a Frisbee throwing robot. The team includes Houghton High School students and mentors who are Michigan Tech students.

Robotics Team  Houghton High School: Danielle Lund, Aaron Bergstrom, Peter Lund, Chris Doig  (MEEM and Computer Sci)  and Eric Lund (MEEM)
Robotics Team Houghton High School: Danielle Lund, Aaron Bergstrom, Peter Lund, Chris Doig (MEEM and Computer Sci) and Eric Lund (MEEM)

Also for Alumni Week the Research Vessel Agassiz Research Boat Tours at Great Lakes Research Center. Four tours left every hour on the hour from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The University operates the R/V Agassiz in support of its mission in aquatic sciences, and these scientific excursions will provide insight into the research being conducted by faculty and students.

Research Vessel Agassiz Research Boat Tours at Great Lakes Research Center.
Research Vessel Agassiz Research Boat Tours at Great Lakes Research Center.

Tech Talks: Dr. Guy Meadows, Hollywood meets Ocean Science: “The Perfect Storm” and “Hunt for Red October”, Fisher Hall Room 139 Based upon applied ocean physics, how real are these Hollywood creations? Could or did the Perfect Storm really occur? How big were the waves really? How do submarines communicate underwater? How do we use sound in the sea as a tool? These questions and more will be explored…with the help of Hollywood, of course.

Tech Talks: Dr. Guy Meadows, Hollywood meets Ocean Science: "The Perfect Storm" and "Hunt for Red October"
Tech Talks: Dr. Guy Meadows, Hollywood meets Ocean Science: “The Perfect Storm” and “Hunt for Red October”


See the Children’s Science Exploration Photo Gallery

Lake Superior Joint Monitoring Program

IMG_8027 (1280x853)Great Lakes Research Vessel NOAA RV 5501 at Michigan Tech: Lake Superior Joint Monitoring Program July 2014

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provided the boat and crew and Michigan Tech provides the people who do the sampling as part of NOAA’s Great Lakes Monitoring program. Michigan Tech and NOAA share in the analysis and discovery.

Crew: Beau Braymer, Captain of RV5501; Bob Harvey, Mate of RV5501; Dr. Gary Fahnenstiel, Senior Scientist, Great Lakes Research Center and Michigan Tech Research Institute; Dr. Foad Yousef, Post doctoral research Michigan Tech and Erin Cafferty Michigan Tech Research Institute, research in freshwater biology phycology.

RV 5501 is a vessel of the NOAA – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL); The Boat Engineering Branch of the United States Coast Guard (USCG) Engineering Logistics Center designed the 55′ ANB (Aids to Navigation Boat). The Coast Guard Yard completed the detailed design and contracted the initial production of 55′ ANB. The 55′ ANB is designed primarily to service aids to navigation within the inland waters, bays, sounds and harbors of the United States. It is capable and equipped to support multi-mission operations.

View more Photos in a slide show

View the Video Lake Superior Joint Monitoring Program at the Great Lakes Research Channel

Great Lakes Research Vessel NOAA RV 5501 at Michigan Tech: Lake Superior Joint Monitoring Program July 2014
Great Lakes Research Vessel NOAA RV 5501 at Michigan Tech: Lake Superior Joint Monitoring Program July 2014

Ocean-going ships have brought invasive species into Great Lakes

Research by CEE Chair David Hand on treating ballast water was referenced and Gary Fahnenstiel, a research scientist in the GLRC, was quoted extensively in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal article “Park Chief Puts Foot Down on Invasive Species”. Fahnenstiel discusses how ocean-going ships have been importing invasive exotic species into the Great Lakes and the importance of treating ships’ ballast water to prevent further invasions.

Celebration of Lake Superior Day in Copper Harbor

IMG_7713 (1280x853)Copper Harbor community volunteers, along with the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative, Organized the second annual Lake Superior Day Festival, Sunday, July 20, with lots of special activities at the 6th Street Dock along the Copper Harbor Boardwalk (near Isle Royale Queen boat dock).

UPDATE: See Photo Gallery from 2014 Lake Superior Day in Copper Harbor Michigan

Lake Superior Magazine featured photos of the Michigan Tech Research Vessel Agassiz and other activities at Lake Superior Day at Copper Harbor last Sunday. See photos 23-27 at Lake Superior Day.

Daily Mining Gazette: Lake Superior Day: A Superior celebration

Copper Harbor activities included:

* Enjoy fish stew (Kalamojakka), homemade pies, rieska (Finnish flatbread) and more for a community picnic ($5 donation suggested).
* Canoe races and kayak demonstrations
* Interactive art (paint the model freighter)
* ROV (remotely operated vehicle) demonstrations by the Dollar Bay High School S.O.A.R. team
* Learn about the health of Lake Superior from a presentation by Great Lakes scientist Marcel Dijkestra from Michigan Tech Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
* Live music, poetry, and more.

From 1 to 4 p.m., attendees found out how scientists study the Great Lakes by taking a 25-minute scientific excursion in the harbor aboard Michigan Tech’s research vessel the Agassiz. These excursions were offered as part of the Ride the Waves Program with funding from General Motors. The Agassiz left the Isle Royale Queen dock every half-hour beginning at 1 p.m.

Lake Superior Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in July in many communities around Lake Superior. The event, now in its 11th year, is spearheaded by the Lake Superior Binational Forum to highlight the special connections people have to this unique world treasure.

For more information about the event, contact Lake Superior Day lead organizer, Don Kilpela, Isle Royale Queen captain in Copper Harbor

To learn more about Lake Superior Day events around the lake, visit the Lake Superior Binational Forum. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Office of the Great Lakes also provides information on Lake Superior and the other Great Lakes at the Department of Environmental Quality, or visit
EPA’s website.

See Photo Gallery from 2014 Lake Superior Day in Copper Harbor Michigan

Great Lakes Investigations Aboard Michigan Tech Research Vessel Agassiz for Students

Great Lakes Investigations Aboard Michigan Tech Research Vessel Agassiz for Students in Grades 4-12 ~ Fun! FREE! Educational!

Ride the Waves with GM (General Motors) invites Copper Country youth in Grades 4-12 to join scientists from Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center in the exploration of Lake Superior, Portage Waterway and Torch Lake. There are four different programs to choose from, each 4 hours in length, that will accommodate 14 youth/chaperones:

Aquatic Food Web & Lab Investigation (4 hour session, 2 on boat & 2 in lab; July 1, 3, 24, Aug. 1, 4-7) Find out how scientists investigate water quality and collect samples to examine in the lab to find out “what makes a lake trout?” All ages.

Mine Waste Remediation & Torch Lake Restoration (4 hour session, 2 on Agassiz & 2 in Lake Linden; on July 1; Aug. 4-7) The history of the “Copper Country is explored by land and water as students visit historic copper milling sites, reclaimed mine waste sites, and the bottom of Torch Lake. Ideal for middle school students.

Investigate the lake with a Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) (2-3 hour session on Agassiz on July 21, 23, 30 departing from various locations; optional shuttle available from MTU)
Unless you’re a diver, few get to see what lies beneath the waves without a remotely operated vehicle. What surprises await you? Ideal for middle/high school students

Lake Superior’s Ring of Fire (4-hour session on Agassiz on Aug. 18-22) Explore an area in Lake Superior where the shrimplike organism Diporeia is up to 20 times more abundant than in any other part of Lake Superior! How does this affect the Lake Superior food web? Ideal for high school students.

REGISTER ONLINE: Ride the Waves Registration Form
Please list all dates and times that work for you and we will reply and fit you into the earliest available slots. Groups of 5 or more students will be given preference in scheduling, so get with your friends and form a group!

See PDF Flyer Great Lakes Investigations Aboard Michigan Tech’s Research Vessel Agassiz for Students in Grades 4-12

The Ride the Waves Program is funded by GM (General Motors) and Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center.

For more Information or to make reservations:
Contact Joan Chadde (jchadde@mtu.edu) or Lloyd Wescoat (lwescoat@mtu.edu) or call 906-487-3341.
Michigan Tech Center for Science & Environmental Outreach
Great Lakes Research Center

The Albany (N.Y.) Times Union published a story about an educational cruise led by Professor Noel Urban (CEE) to teach plant technicians from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Natural Resources Department about the impact on Torch Lake of mining and the stamp sands it left. The story, initially published by the Daily Mining Gazette in Houghton, was picked up by Associated Press wire service and made available to member media outlets all over the country. See Students Observe Effects of Mining on Torch Lake.

See a Video about Ride the Waves with GM – General Motors

View a slide show with more pictures

Great Lakes Investigations Aboard Michigan Tech Research Vessel Agassiz
Great Lakes Investigations Aboard Michigan Tech’s Research Vessel Agassiz

Free Scientific Excursion Aboard the Agassiz at the Strawberry Festival

Free scientific excursions aboard Michigan Tech’s research vessel Agassiz will be held at the Strawberry Festival, 1-5 p.m., Saturday, July 12 at Chassell Marina. “How do scientists assess the health of Lake Superior?” is the focus of the excursions.

See the Video Scientific Excursion Aboard the Agassiz – Ride the Waves with GM

The public is invited to sign up for a free 30-minute excursion by calling the Center for Science, Math and Environmental Education at 7-3341 or coming to the Chassell Marina dock on Saturday between 12:30 and 4 p.m. Spaces go quickly. On-site sign-ups begin at 12:30 p.m. with first departure at 1 p.m. Half of the spaces will be saved for onsite participants.

On each scientific excursion, a Marcel Dykstra, a Michigan Tech Great Lakes scientist, will demonstrate how sampling equipment is used to collect plankton and sediment, evaluate water clarity, temperature and turbidity, which tell us about the health of Chassell Bay. Microscopes will be on shore so participants can view the organisms. Participants will investigate the connection between land uses and the health of the Great Lakes.

Scientific excursions will depart from the Chassell Marina dock approximately every half hour. Space is limited to 15 persons per excursion (children must be at least 7 years of age and accompanied by an adult). Life jackets are available for all passengers.

Remotely-Operated-Vehicle (ROV) demonstrations will also be conducted from the Chassell Marina dock throughout the afternoon.

“Copper Country residents and visitors are encouraged to learn how scientists study the Great Lakes and what factors contribute to a healthy lake,” explains Joan Chadde, education program director. “These scientific excursions for the public have been offered at the Strawberry Festival since 2006 and have been extremely popular. Youth and adults enjoy the opportunity to interact with Great Lakes scientists and get their questions answered.”

The event is coordinated by the Western UP Center for Science, Mathematics and Environmental Education and Michigan Tech’s Great Lakes Research Center. This year, the program is funded by the GM Ride the Waves Program putting more than 500 Copper Country youth and adults on the water to learn about the Great Lakes and promote STEM careers, along with support from the Michigan Tech Center for Water and Society and the Chassell Lions Club.

For more information or to sign up for an excursion, call 487-3341. More information on the Lake Superior Stewardship Initiative is available online.

Chassell (in 2013)
Chassell (in 2013)

Summer Teacher Institutes News Articles

Michigan Tech’s Summer Teacher Institutes were featured in News Articles

◾July 24, 2014 Geology Teacher Institute July 21-25:
Michigan teachers learn a thing or two about the U.P.’s geology

◾July 17, 2014 Great Lakes Teacher Institute:
Learning about the lakes: MTU hosts teacher institute

◾July 10, 2014 Global Change Teacher Institute:
Tracking a changing world Tech hosts 9th annual Global Change Teacher Institute

◾July 2, 2014 RTW & Portage Lake District Library
Adults and kids learn about Great Lakes research, fish food web, marine robotics, more from Keweenaw Now

◾July 24, 2014 Geoheritage Tours: Michigan Tech leads group on geoheritage tour along the Keweenaw Fault

Lake Linden: Scientific Excursions aboard MTU’s Research Vessel Agassiz

FREE scientific excursions aboard MTU’s research vessel Agassiz
~ Noon-3 pm, 4th of July departing from Lake Linden Village Marina ~

‘How do scientists assess the health of Torch Lake?’ is the focus of FREE scientific excursions that will be offered at the 4th of July festivities in Lake Linden Village Park &Marina. The public is invited to sign up for FREE 30-minute scientific excursions aboard Michigan Tech’s research vessel Agassiz by calling the Center for Science, Math & Environmental Education at 487-3341 or coming to the Lake Linden Marina dock on Friday, July 4th between 11:30 and 3 pm. Continue reading