Friday, January 18, 2013

How Climate Change Is Damaging The Great Lakes

Jan 18: Matt Kasper with the Center for American Progress (CAP) has posted an article as a guest blogger on the Climate Progress blog. The posting is entitled, How Climate Change Is Damaging The Great Lakes, With Implications For The Environment And The Economy.
    According to the posting, "Great Lakes Michigan and Huron set a new record low water level for the month of December, and in the coming weeks the could record their lowest water levels ever. It's becoming certain that, like the rest of the country, the Great Lakes are feeling the effects of climate change. Last year was officially the warmest year on record for the lower-48 states. The hot summer air has been causing the surface water of the Great Lakes to increase in temperature. One might think this causes more precipitation around the lakes, but the warmer winter air is causing a shorter duration of ice cover. In fact, the amount of ice covering the lakes has declined about 71 percent over the past 40 years. Last year, only 5 percent of the lakes froze over –- compared to 1979 when ice coverage was as much as 94 percent.

    "Furthermore, the continuing effect of the historic drought in the Midwest is causing increased levels of evaporation. This combination of climate change side-effects results in low water levels for the Great Lakes. The impact climate change has on the five lakes (Superior, Michigan, Huron Erie, and Ontario) will have serious implications for aquatic life, as well as high economic costs for communities."

    The posting includes maps and information developed by the Great Lakes Environmental Assessment and Mapping project (GLEAM) that illustrate the severity of the environmental impacts on the lakes, as well as the warming temperature of the lakes. Also included are information from the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) and the draft Third National Climate Assessment draft.

    Access the complete posting with links to the various cited resources (click here).


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