Monitoring Lake Superior

Interested in conditions on and in Lake Superior? UMD operates two buoys in the far western arm of Lake Superior about 15 miles outside Duluth, one near the McQuade safe harbor and one offshore of that location. You can see the data in real time by following this link.



about 12 years ago

Very cool, and is now on my favorites list on my phone for fishing data.

But, I think the Water Temp graph needs a legend.


about 12 years ago

If you click the water temperature graph, it leads to a page with a description. I would imagine that lower temperature directly correlates with increased depth in the summer, but a legend would be nice.

Minnesota Sea Grant's page on Lake Superior's Natural Processes has good information on water temperature and depth, with a nice graph of water temperature at different depths over a whole year.

The information on seiches was interesting, as well. I didn't realize that water flows into the harbor and St. Louis River so much and so often before I read that page.

Water on the Web is a fairly long PowerPoint presentation that has a lot of scientific information on lake processes, as well.


about 12 years ago

Wow... this is a rough crowd. Legends have been added so that it is reasonably clear what depths each temperature record is coming from. Yes, in general, the colder the record, the deeper (although it is exactly the opposite in the winter!).

If people have ideas for what other sorts of data or displays would be useful, get in touch with me. Also, if you find yourself frequently using the data, please let me know how you are using it.


about 12 years ago

I didn't mean to be rough, just helpful. It's a cool site.

Was the link Click here for more on water temperature on the water temperature page before? I didn't notice it the first time I looked at the page. I like that graph; it's similar to the one on the Minnesota Sea Grant page above and I find it easier to read.


about 12 years ago

Two websites I use for swimming, not much use for boating or fishing:

1.  How warm is the water?

2.  Is it clean?


about 12 years ago

You can also view the LLO's Lake Superior buoy data on  Click on the little map of Lake Superior at the bottom of the home page. 

There are two ways to view the data.  The first is the Depth x Time viewer that generates plots like this:


The other is the Profile Plotter that looks like this:


Generating these plots can be a bit intimidating at first so follow these steps to make one of you very own:

1.From the H2O Temperature Profile Plotter, select 2012
2. Click the Load Data button
3. Click the Profile Plotter/Color Mapper button
4. When the color graph comes up, the date and time of the image will appear at the top. To move to the current date go to the slider bar at the top left and slide it all the way to the right. You can hit the play button to see how things have changed over time. You can go forward or backward. You can also adjust how fast viewer goes with the speed slider button. If you want to change temps to Fahrenheit, click the # buttons near both "Water Temperature" parameters. When you click # another pop up window will allow you to change temperature units. Remember depths are in meters.

Also, check out the rest of the website that  provides similar sites with on-line, interactive water quality visualizations for 5 area trout streams, the Duluth Superior Inlet, and WLSSD's discharge; and will also be providing access to similar data from multiple sites in the St. Louis River Estuary including the Superior Inlet later this month.

Leave a Comment

Only registered members can post a comment , Login / Register Here

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Read previous post:
Duluth’s Best Guitar Slingers

The Chaperone Records post (congrats on that - great to see here) reminded me of a conversation at Bayfront regarding...