Saturday, October 19, 2013

Can they go lower?

The ongoing decrease in the level of the Great Lakes is a major environmental and economical concern.  So when reading this report, my first question was -- how much lower can the lake level go?  Second question, are there any prospects for a reversal of this trend?  Third question, is this another symptom of climate change or just a regional thing?

With Great Lakes stuck at historic lows, talk turns to adapting
"A mix of evaporating water and minimal ice cover due to warmer temperatures over the winter has contributed to the record-low levels, according to the corps [Army Corps of Engineers]. Heavy rainfall throughout April, which resulted in significant flooding in downtown Grand Rapids, as well as water flowing in from Lake Superior, has helped raise Lake Michigan, Steinman said."   [Check out the article; the main way to have higher water levels is to have a colder than normal winter.]
" Steinman said that under an early-stage initiative at the state level, headed by the Office of the Great Lakes within the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, a number of water experts from different fields have submitted white papers he hopes will result in a long-term strategy to address water-related issues in the state. Steinman is among the experts involved.
"Ultimately, we want this to translate into policy because that is how it will make a long-lasting impact," he said. "Every environmental issue we face boils down to an economic issue. We need to get the economics right when we start figuring out what the solutions are to these environmental challenges. …"

I think we're going to see a lot of the word "adapting" in climate change stories in coming years.

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