Remember this alarmist whining from Joe Romm’s Climate Progress last year?
Great Lakes Michigan and Huron set a new record low water level for the month of December, and in the coming weeks they could experience 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.
What a difference a year makes.
Current data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers shows that for the first time in 14 years, all five Great Lakes are at or above average water levels. Lake Michigan/Huron is up 18″ in the last year.
Here is the last twenty years worth of data. The red line is the “normal” line in each lake level plot. The red dashed lines are forecasts.
From a July 07, 2014 Chicago Tribune article:
In January 2013, the average water levels in Lakes Michigan and Huron dipped to 576 feet, the lowest point since modern record-keeping began in 1918.
The all-time high of 582.3 feet was set in October 1986, representing a sizable range of about 6 feet.
The lakes tend to follow yearly cycles, swelling in the spring and summer and shrinking in the fall and winter, but they have never in 95 years of recordings remained below average for so long.
The last two years of relatively heavy winter and spring precipitation, however, have led to this year’s stronger-than-usual seasonal rise, according to Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology for the Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District.
“We saw a tremendous amount of snow,” Kompoltowicz said of this winter. “We haven’t seen snow like that in a long time.”
In fact, the snowpack around the Michigan basin this year was 30 percent higher than at any time in the past decade. The past two months have also supplied above-average amounts of rain, quenching parched harbors and popular fishing holes like the Lincoln Park Lagoon.
So much for climate change effects, water is back to normal levels for now.
[duplicated Tribune quote removed. .mod]
h/t to WUWT reader cjames