Does Lake Michigan’s record low mark beginning of new era for Great Lakes?

Despite above-average precipitation, lake has seen below-average water levels for 14 years running. Less ice cover and more dark open water may explain why.

By Dan Egan of the Journal Sentinel staff



“Last year was indeed extremely dry. But the past 14 years, on average, have been wetter than usual for Lakes Michigan and Huron, which are actually one body of water connected at the Straits of Mackinac.


Even so, the lakes remain about a foot and a half below their average for this time of year.


So where did all the water go? This is not a story about climate change. It is a story about climate changed.”


“He eventually determined it’s not just warm summer weather driving the increase in water temperatures — it’s also what’s happening in winter. The air-temperature increase, however slight, has been enough to dramatically reduce Superior’s average ice cover.


And without a bright white cap to bounce solar radiation back into the sky, the lake begins to soak up heat in early spring. That jump-start on the annual warming process has a profound effect on peak surface water temperatures during the summer.”

“Paul Roebber, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee meteorologist and associate dean of its School of Freshwater Sciences, points to a weather buoy in the middle of southern Lake Michigan that shows a 3.4 degree increase in average summer surface water temperatures since 1997.


One day last summer, the thermometer at the mid-lake buoy 43 miles southeast of Milwaukee recorded a Caribbean-like 80 degrees. It was only the beginning of July. ‘There has been a change in air temperatures. It’s not dramatic, but it’s just enough to not produce the ice coverage we used to have,’ explained Roebber. ‘And that makes all the difference in a system like this.’”


Sky:  Climate change skeptics are making heavy weather out of a slowing surface temperature change but the global warming is occurring in the lakes and oceans.  It is not diminishing.  I’m afraid there is just no good news anywhere and no indication of serious efforts to recover from the inevitable effect of increasing greenhouse gases.  The Earth has no legal protection, no rights whatsoever.