Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Great Lakes shrinkage

I saw the initial story on this some time ago and saved it for what I thought would be near future use.  I forgot to use it, but as with many of these stories, they never really go away.

As Great Lakes levels plummet, Michigan town tries to save its harbor
AP Press/Syracuse.com, 27 November 2012 (hat tip:  NC)
The Great Lakes, the world’s biggest freshwater system, are shrinking because of drought and rising temperatures, a trend that accelerated with this year’s almost snowless winter and scorching summer. Water levels have fallen to near-record lows on Lakes Michigan and Huron, while Erie, Ontario and Superior are below their historical averages. The decline is causing heavy economic losses, with cargo freighters forced to lighten their loads, marinas too shallow for pleasure boats and weeds sprouting on exposed bottomlands, chasing away swimmers and sunbathers.

And the problems continue:

Great Lakes water levels reaching a low ebb
Jay Ray, The Buffalo News, 2 January 2012
In fact, receding waters recently exposed several old shipwrecks in a river that funnels into Lake Michigan.
The low lake levels for Erie and Ontario, though not even close to record-breaking, are making some nervous. That is particularly true in communities such as Olcott and Wilson, which rely heavily on the business of out-of-state boaters and fisherman who launch and dock from local marinas.

The current levels can be found here.  Note that the relevant line is  "Difference from long-term monthly average of Jan (inches)"

Of course it is the sign of our times that the feared economic loss is tourism rather than industry.  Much the way satirically the big town economic loss in the novel Gone Girl was when their mega-mall shut down.

2 comments:

Francis Lee said...

That's not good at all while over here there are homes flooding from rainfall and rivers bursting their banks.

russell1200 said...

Francis: Yes, and Australia has been on fire.