Brent Lofgren, Ph.D., a GLERL scientist and lead author of the study said, "Even small drops in lake water levels create problems for shipping and navigation, hydroelectric energy production, and recreational boating. While there are still many unknowns about how climate change will unfold in the Great Lakes region, our results indicate less loss of water than earlier studies." The researchers used a different method than previous studies to account for how water evaporates into the atmosphere from the soil and plants in the drainage basin that surrounds the lakes, i.e. evapotranspiration. Earlier studies used air temperature alone to estimate this variable. The new GLERL study uses an "energy budget-based approach" to better reflect the balance between energy coming in from the sun and energy given off from the Earth, which drives evaporation.
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