Global Warming and the Great Lakes

This article illustrates how much we actually manage a manipulate the lakes to enable our modern systems that supports our lifestyles- and how that is all about to change.

From Yale Climate Connections

The St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes form a 2,300-mile waterway. It’s a shipping highway, generates hydroelectric power, supports commercial fisheries, and provides recreation for millions.

To protect all of these interests, the water levels in the lakes and rivers is managed based on recommendations from a group called the International Joint Commission.

But Eugene Stakhiv, a water resources systems engineer and visiting scholar at Johns Hopkins University, says the current process may not work as climate change brings new patterns of precipitation.

STAKHIV: “Under this particular climate scenario that we’ve experienced over the past 200 years, we can manage the water levels fairly well. But if it goes into either very high flows or very low flows, we won’t be able to manage it at all.”

For example, with too much water in the system it will be impossible to release enough to prevent flooding. And with too little, there will not be enough for shipping.

Since the future may include periods of both too much and too little precipitation, the Commission is encouraging communities around the Great Lakes to prepare now for uncertain times ahead.

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One thought on “Global Warming and the Great Lakes

  1. Bill Steffen

    “…the future may include periods of both too much and too little precipitation” – there’s a shocker! Here’s Historical Great Lakes Ice Cover: http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/data/ice/imgs/IceCoverAvg1973_2015.jpg Here’s Historical Great Lakes Water Levels: http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/data/dashboard/GLWLD.html No where near a match to CO2.

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
    H. L. Mencken

    Like

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