Wave conditions within the Great Lakes are strongly influenced by storm winds that generate seas. These winds are mainly produced by various extratropical storms moving across the Great Lakes region. The resulting waves can cause erosion of sand beaches or weathering of cliffs and headlands along the shore.
Winds also cause seiches in the Great Lakes. The waves and water movement produced by these oscillations can also affect erosion and sediment transport.
The movement of sea ice, which forms when the lakes' surfaces freeze, is driven by wind. These large ridges of seasonal ice can scour sediment from the beaches and deposit it when they melt. Sometimes the sediment is transported alongshore, but it can also be lost to deep water, resulting in net erosion.