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: German scientist starts four-week swim down Rhine river

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google searches hold key to future market crashes

8 hours ago

A team of researchers from Warwick Business School and Boston University have developed a method to automatically identify topics that people search for on Google before subsequent stock market falls.

Recommended for you

Malaysia air quality 'unhealthy' as haze obscures skies

5 hours ago

Air quality around Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur and on Borneo island was "unhealthy" on Tuesday, with one town reaching "very unhealthy" levels as haze—mostly from forest fires in Indonesia—obscured skies.

Worldwide water shortage by 2040

5 hours ago

Two new reports that focus on the global electricity water nexus have just been published. Three years of research show that by the year 2040 there will not be enough water in the world to quench the thirst of the world population ...

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.