Declining water levels in the Great Lakes may signal global warming

Dec 10, 2007

Researchers in Michigan report new evidence that water levels in the Great Lakes, which are near record low levels, may be shrinking due to global warming. Their study, which examines water level data for Lakes Michigan and Huron over more than a century, is scheduled for the Dec. 15 issue of ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology.

In the new study, Craig Stow and colleagues point out that water levels in the Great Lakes, which supply drinking water to more than 40 million U.S. and Canadian residents, have fluctuated over thousands of years. But recent declines in water levels have raised concern because the declines are consistent with many climate change projections, they say.

To evaluate the factors behind this decline, the scientists examined water level data for Lakes Michigan and Huron from 1860 to 2006, including precipitation, evaporation and runoff data. The results reveal an underlying gradual decline in water levels since 1973. This underlying drop may be due to an increase in evaporation levels, they say.

“We cannot be certain that the present observed water level drop is caused by factors related to global climate change, or that it portends a long-term problem,” the study states. But the ongoing decline in water levels make it “prudent to include lower lake levels in future management planning,” the researchers note.

Source: ACS

Explore further: NOAA establishes 'tipping points' for sea level rise related flooding

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Great Lakes water level slump over, future unclear

Dec 10, 2014

Scientists say the longest period on record of abnormally low Great Lakes water levels has ended, but it's uncertain whether the recovery is temporary or the beginning of a new long-term trend.

Calcium loss turning lakes to 'jelly'

Nov 18, 2014

New research on a number of Canadian lakes show that historical acid deposits as a result of industry have greatly reduced calcium levels in the water - dramatically impacting populations of calcium-rich ...

Reconstructing the African humid period

Dec 05, 2014

During the end of the last ice age, there were dramatic changes in rainfall across a vast swath of Africa. As the world's large ice sheets receded in northern and southern latitudes, rainfall in much of Africa ...

Greenhouse gases linked to African rainfall

Dec 04, 2014

Scientists may have solved a long-standing enigma known as the African Humid Period - an intense increase in cumulative rainfall in parts of Africa that began after a long dry spell following the end of the ...

Recommended for you

New challenges for ocean acidification research

2 hours ago

Over the past decade, ocean acidification has received growing recognition not only in the scientific area. Decision-makers, stakeholders, and the general public are becoming increasingly aware of "the other carbon dioxide ...

Compromises lead to climate change deal

2 hours ago

Earlier this month, delegates from the various states that make up the UN met in Lima, Peru, to agree on a framework for the Climate Change Conference that is scheduled to take place in Paris next year. For ...

Finding innovative solutions for reducing CO2 emissions

5 hours ago

Today, the company Gaznat SA and EPFL signed an agreement for the creation of two new research chairs. The first one will study ways to seize carbon dioxide (CO2) at its production source and increase its value ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

niftyswell
1 / 5 (1) Jan 05, 2008
%u201CWe cannot be certain that the present observed water level drop is caused by factors related to global climate change, or that it portends a long-term problem,%u201D the study states...the title is

Declining water levels in the Great Lakes may signal global warming

huh? then you contrast this headline put out in 2004
'Global Warming To Squeeze Western Mountains Dry By 2050'

with the latest headline...

'Remote sensors and ski areas in the high Sierra Nevada had recorded up to 5 feet since Friday morning, and the west side of the Lake Tahoe Basin already had 4 to 5 feet by Friday night, the National Weather Service office in Reno, Nev., said Saturday.

As much as 10 feet of snow was possible in the Sierra by Sunday. "Attempting to travel in the Sierra will put your life at risk," the weather service warned. '

Global cooling in the 70's they stated it would lead to drought...then they stated that global warming would lead to flooding and rising water levels..then drought...now flooding...

All I want is some consistency- tell us which it is and lets watch and see what happens but you cannot point to every observation and blame global warming and expect the public to buy it.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.