Great Lakes Drying Up… No, Overflowing… Because Climate Change

Guest “because climate change” by David Middleton

From the October 1, 2020 issue of Physics Today… Well, physics the day after tomorrow (good movie title)…

1 OCTOBER 2020 • page 26
The Great Lakes are filled to their brims, with no signs of receding
Experts see the fingerprints of climate change on the lakes’ record high water levels.

David Kramer

Physics Today 73, 10, 26 (2020); https://doi.org/10.1063/PT.3.4589

Seven years ago, Ron Wilson’s son was married on the beach in front of his cottage on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Were the couple to renew their vows today in the same spot, they’d be standing in nearly two meters of water. The 18-meter-wide beach has vanished, and the lake is now lapping at a steel seawall Wilson erected last winter to keep storms away from his foundation.

[…]

Water levels have always fluctuated on the Great Lakes, but the recent extreme seesawing, particularly on the upper lakes—Superior, Michigan, and Huron—is unprecedented in the century that records have been kept (see charts). Michigan and Huron, which are linked and share the same level, stood at record highs in August, 84 cm above their historic average. The two lakes bottomed out at record lows in 2013. Although a relatively modest 25 cm above average, Superior in 2020 was just 5 cm below its record peak for August set a year ago.

[…]

Signs of climate changeThe past 10 years have been the wettest on record for the Great Lakes watershed. Andrew Gronewold, associate professor for environment and sustainability at the University of Michigan, says the rainy years began well before the 2013 ebb in the upper lakes. An extended period of excess evaporation that started in 1998 more than offset the added precipitation until the polar vortex event in early 2014 caused most of the lakes to freeze over. Since then, water supply has exceeded evaporation, partly because of several especially cold winters, Gronewold says. He adds that the 2014–17 period saw the fastest three-year increase in water levels since record-keeping began.

Donald Wuebbles, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, says precipitation over the watershed has risen 10% over the past century and is expected to grow another 10% over the next. Precipitation in the Great Lakes region is increasingly occurring in larger events, researchers say. As a result, more rainfall runs off into streams and rivers feeding the lakes instead of being absorbed in soils. The lakes themselves make up a major portion of the watershed.

“The rate at which precipitation has changed over the past decade simply cannot be explained by historical variability alone,” says Gronewold. “The best explanation is a warming atmosphere and warming global temperature.”

[…]

Physics Today

The article provides this USACE chart of historical lake levels…

1. Unprecedented?

The caption in the article must be a typo…

Water levels on the Great Lakes have fluctuated irregularly over the past century. The peaks and troughs on Lakes Michigan and Huron have been especially pronounced. From a record low in 2013, they have surged to record highs this year. (US Army Corps of Engineers.)

Michigan-Huron appears to have been just as low as 2013 in 1965-1966 and within 1 foot of that low in the mid-1920’s and mid-1930’s. The “record highs this year” don’t look any higher than 1987 and the mid-1970’s, mid-1950’s and 1930 appear to have been within 1 foot of those record highs. I

2. Unprecedented? Not!

What does the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) data show?

3. No Lake Michigan for you! 2019 and 2013 are highlighted.

The peaks and troughs on Lakes Michigan and Huron have been especially pronounced. From a record low in 2013, they have surged to record highs this year.

This year isn’t over. The most recent full year of USACE records is 2019. Lakes Michigan-Huron set no monthly record highs in 2019 and only one record monthly low in 2013. 11 monthly record highs were set in 1986 and 1 in 1987. Most of the Great Lakes monthly record highs were set in the mid-1980’s. 10 of the monthly record lows for Michigan-Huron were set in 1964. The vast majority of record monthly lows for the other lakes were set in the 1920’s and 1930’s.

4. Surface elevation of Lakes Michigan-Huron in feet above International Great Lakes Datum of 1985 (IGLD 85). Green is the monthly average, red is the trailing 12-month average. The pre-1980 average, plus/minus 2 standard deviations are denoted by horizontal black lines. (USACE)

What’s really funny? They tell us that climate change caused these record highs and lows and will make the seesawing worse… But…

Longer term, it’s anyone’s guess where lake levels are headed. The range of possibilities in the six-month forecasts by the US Army Corps of Engineers is so broad in the latter months as to be of little use, researchers say. 

Physics Today

115 thoughts on “Great Lakes Drying Up… No, Overflowing… Because Climate Change

    • Well, not exactly.
      Soil is about 2.5 times heavier than water (specific gravity of water =1, while for a soil particle usually varies from 2.60 to 2.70). The area of Great Lakes is location of the massive Laurentide Ice Sheet. Since the ice melted the large area of the North East American continent is subject to the postglacial isostatic uplift. It is likely that due to the weight difference the lakes bottom is rising somewhat faster than the surrounding area.
      More research required, send grant money soon.

      • Several years ago I watched a tv reporter interview a geologist, and he clearly mentioned post glacial uplift as a possible explanation for changes in shorelines and lake levels.

        The reporter didn’t ask any questions about PGU, she merely ignored the subject and carried on with the climate alarmist narrative like the geologist had never mentioned it.

        It was hilarious.

        • What you describe is classic Cognitive Dissonance in live action.

          Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. This produces a feeling of mental discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance.
          https://www.simplypsychology.org/cognitive-dissonance.html

          In the example you gave, she basically re-interpreted in her head what she wanted to hear, ignoring what was actually said.

          The Dr. Jordan Peterson interview on Chan4 2 years ago by Cathy Newman also has about 4 separate, very clear instances where Ms Newman experienced CD on-air, and tried in her mind and then her words re-interpret what he said that were contradictory to her beliefs into “re-stating” words he didn’t say, and Dr Peterson proceeds to correct her.

          • Having lived on Lake St Clair for decades… I can attest that the recent 3-year high levels are on decline. From a max of 577.7 ft now down to 576.7 ft. A foot drop in last 3 months.

            Thankfully our seawall is at 579 ft and house at 581 feet. The high cycle is over imo. Rain below average for year so far (runoff)… and wind above average (evaporation).

      • Post glacial lift doesn’t explain going from almost record low to almost record high in just a few years. Whether in the 1920’s, 1970’s or the 2010’s. Our rivers and water table has been high now for a few years as well as our lakes.

        We need a pipeline to sell a bunch of this water to fill the reservoirs in the SW….I’m sick of sitting on a wet pier (breakwater).

        • Call it the Chicago access XL pipeline. Bring it here to AZ where we have had only about 10 days with any significant cloud cover (in Phoenix) since the beginning of June. Officially only 1 inch or less of rain. It’s beautiful to look at the clear blue skies but even it gets old after awhile. I doubt anyone will complain about a pipeline carrying water across all those states. /s If you look on the map, it’s all downhill from the upper right to the lower left.😎

      • Yes, and the reason this rebound occurs in 2017-2020 when the levels are higher than the long term average, but the opposite effect happened in 2001-2013 when the lake levels were lower than average?

        Sorry, doesn’t pass the smell test.

    • I have lived within 5 miles of Lake Michigan for 70 years. I can assure everyone that I have seen all this before several times–the lows in the 50s, 60s, and 00s and 2013, the highs in the late 70s, 80s and 90s and now. For the 10 years preceding 2013, there was a noticeable drought in Michigan. Since then it has rained a lot and the lake level shot up. Two cold springs in a row in 2019 and 2020.

      Let’s see what happens.

    • How can you claim we don’t know what’s going on. Science says it’s Climate Change! Lower water levels: climate change. Higher water levels: climate change. Colder winters: climate change. Warmer winters: climate change. More hurricanes: climate change. Fewer tornadoes: climate change.

      Some people think the answer to everything (based on a work of fiction) is 42, but we all know that science says climate change is the answer. I don’t know why astronomers haven’t yet realized that climate change is the reason behind dark matter and dark energy or why quantum physicists haven’t realized that climate change is the reason they have trouble reconciling gravity with quantum mechanics.

  1. Too little water in the lakes, well that’s global warming aka climate change. Too much water in the lakes well that is global warming aka climate change.
    This is the classic, heads i win tails you lose position. Climate alarmists don’t need any double headed coins, they just claim a win no matter which way it flips.

    • Rod
      Those who take the moral high road (in their eyes) and claim they are the only true supporters of science (in contrast to skeptics), abide by an unstated assumption that the Earth doesn’t change. Thus, any change is evidence of anthropogenic influence. The problem is, there is plenty of evidence that the Earth changed all the time before humans evolved, and continues to do so. The alarmists demonstrate that they are either ignorant of science, or willfully choose to ignore science in order to promote their belief system.

    • Yup. No need for data anymore. You may foolishly think that it’s an exaggeration to say that the high water levels are “unprecedented”. Wrong! (A little mosh lingo there). That’s just part of the stylesheet now. The assumption is that the data manipulators will have done their job to make sure it’s “true”. Be reasonable now, it’s not the EurekAlert! intern’s job to fix the data, is it?

      What, look at the data and make a valid assessment on your own? Stop it! We BELIEVE in Science. The dogma is settled. It’s not for laypeople to interpret the IPCC on our own. That’s what our Scientists do. We don’t understand in order to believe. We believe in order to understand.

      Similarly all the MSM drones have surely already filed their reports on the Presidential Debate tonight. Did you see how great Biden did? Hit the ball out of the park. Nobody will be calling him senile after this! He crushed Trump. Trump looks desperate. The walls are closing in on him. In 90 minutes OrangeManBad lied 305 times. That’s like probably a lie every two seconds. Imagine what it will be like to have a President who believes in Science! A President who pays his taxes! A President who wears his face diaper with pride!

    • Yup, same around this area. When we experienced a few soggy, cool summers, why that was because of global warming/climate change, and that’s what we should expect from now on.

      Then things went back to normal. Silence.

      Then a few hot dry summers, and once again it was due to global warming/climate change and that’s what we should expect from now on.

      Then a sudden reversal from hot and dry to cool and soggy. So far silence, I guess the memory of those recent dry years is too fresh in our minds. But if it continues for another couple years I’m expecting the same old fear mongering claim.

    • Rod

      Did you notice that there was no mention at all of the fact that the lake levels are managed? Lake Ontario two years was flooding the cottages on the north shore to such extent that there were fish swimming on people’s lawns and some driveways.

      It was the result of the managers who control the lake level deciding that it was not going to rain as much ever again (perpetual drought) and they had to retain as much as possible to keep the are full. Of course they were wrong and they ended up with Lake Ontario so full they couldn’t empty Lake Erie fast enough without causing even more problems.

      This year it was down a little but it is still too high. There were fish on the lawn again this year.

      Lake levels are not all luck, some of it is man-made and has nothing to do with “global warming”, merely belief in it.

      • Crispin,
        I was in Sheboygan WI a few years back and, like we all do when in a new town or country we looked at real estate prices. I was amazed what you could get for the money. A lakeside house with shoreline on an acre plot was going for the same money a small flat would cost in any UK city.
        Then the penny dropped. I asked if the lake level ever changed….

    • Moreover, they really mean global warming by ‘climate change’. Aren’t we trying to avoid extinction of the planet after 1.5C increase from 1850 to 2100, i.e 250yrs! The hydro-theology prof in the article blamed the polar vortex that brought record low temperatures to Ohio and Illinois! Where in their world is all this frigid air coming from? A Global Warming Arctic enhancement, that’s where!

      Climate science has become theater for idjits and what would be otherwise normal folk dumbed down by useful idjits. These BS artists don’t care that logical folk know what is going on. John Cook has an important part of the truth in his consensus jiggery pokery: wise dissenters made up only a few percent in the Soviet experiment.

    • Rod
      Living in Michigan, surrounded by Great Lakes, we hear about a low water level “catastrophe” or a high water “catastrophe” about once every decade. No one here listens any more except those rich folks with vacation homes on the shores of the Great Lakes. They are worried that the market value of their vacation homes will stop rising, and they will no longer be able to afford $25 cigars and $200 bottles of scotch.

    • Us old people are a problem when it comes to history. Back in 1987 I lived a block away from Lake Michigan. I had a problem with water in my basement as did others. Same old same old stories back then as today. All they needed to do was dust off the old stories and run them again right? Wrong
      Back then it was blamed on the Corpse of Engineers for doing projects that raised the lake levels. Finger pointing was to the point there were plenty of lawsuits were filed for damages. No global warming back then but the cause was still blamed anthropogenically. Can’t be an act of God because there is no ability to recover for damages.

      • I also remember 1987. We had a cabin on Lake Michigan for many years. I remember driving up to the Soo Locks that summer to see why they weren’t holding more water in Superior. I can tell you that at that time Superior was only a foot or two from over topping the locks. Outflows from the lakes are controlled by the US Canada joint commission. They have pretty good control over Superior via the St Mary’s river. Michigan and Huron not so much. The outflow of the Chicago river is the only control point I remember. There is some control over the Niagara river due to hydroelectric diversions. Other than that, the lakes go up and down. Great beaches at low, but shipping and boaters suffer and visa versa. Someone is always unhappy with the lake level. And people were installing seawalls to protect property in 1987 too. My grandparents set the cabin back far enough to never have to worry about it.

      • Yeah, blame it on the corpse of engineers. They can’t defend themselves when they’re dead!

        (I think you mean corps)

  2. “From a record low in 2013, they have surged to record highs this year”

    Yeah, just like here in Toronto with Lake Ontario: 2013 was a Very Extra Special Emergency, due to climate change, as with LOWER spring run-off (due, of course, to warmer winters and less snow), the GREAT LAKES WERE GOING DRY!!! The models say its just gonna get worse. ACT NOW!

    Quick, dust off those plans to have to dredge all those channels, give money to the pleasure boat industry (docks are too far from the water), hurry, hurry, spend those billions.

    2014
    2015
    2016

    …ummmm….completely average lake levels. No headlines. No panic. No “sciencey” doomsayers.

    2017: OMG, we’re flooding. CLIMATE CHANGE!!!!

    (“Forget what we said about lower spring run off because of less snow. Forget THOSE models. We have NEW models that say we’re going to get HIGHER spring run off…oh, and forget bad water management downstream”.

    Seriously, nobody should be able have a job that doesn’t require at least 8th grade math.

    • I live over 1000 miles West of the Great Lakes. We’re supposed to be in a state of permanent drought but in fact we are around our long term normal moisture levels. Back in the first few years of the new millenium we were dealing with floods quite regularly, but we had that in the 70’s as well. Then some drought in the 80’s. This climate change can’t make up it’s mind what it’s doing, and if you look at the long term record it looks no different whatsoever.

      • John Palliser (Palliser’s Triangle) wrote off much of the southern Canadian prairies when he surveyed it circa 1857-1860. When he traversed that era of the mid 1800’s, it was in a state of periodic drought, as you allude to the cyclic nature of the prairies. It’s either to wet or too dry. That also fit the narrative for the eastern colonial pre-confederation Canada that bought Ruperts Land from the Hudson Bay Company in 1869, who (HBC) didn’t really want to share much of the geographical nature of their territory with anyone. So Great Britain (pre-Canada) got it all for a steal of a deal for $1.5 million. A worthless desert they called it, but they wanted to stop the northern expansionism from the USA and to build their own railroad to the Pacific.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palliser%27s_Triangle

        Irrigation does vastly improve the crop yields and security as Gardiner Dam and Lake Diefenbaker on the South Saskatchewan River has shown the last 50+ years. Too bad they didn’t build the other dam in Alberta on same river as it would have filled up on any one of those flood years from the 1980’s through to just a few years ago. Probably won’t ever happen now, although Alberta should have pushed harder showing climate records that the local climate swings from too wet to very dry and another dam would provide flood control, electricity and irrigation water in abundance.

        • Yes, I have commented on Palliser here

          He said it was useless desert then when the CPR css as me through they figured he was on crack.

          It was cold and wet in the 70s, became grassland.
          In the 90’s it was like the Sahara, endless dunes and so hot to walk on even with boots.

          Today, grassland again

          Continuous change
          As always

  3. I live in Michigan and back in 2013, at the last low, all the “climate scientists” were telling us the low was the new normal due to “climate change” and the lakes would only keep shrinking.

    At the time, there was also a big argument between the lake front property owners and the enviros over whether the proper owners could be allowed to do “beach grooming”. Older people like me just laughed–let them do whatever they want it will all be under water in a few years. And here we are.

    “Climate science” is a kind of memory disorder–they can’t remember what it was like yesterday, but today is the new normal and it is worse than we thought.

    • They remember, but they count on the rest of us NOT remembering. Like politicians, if we remember what they said previously it becomes obvious that they’re full of S#1t!

    • “Climate science” is a kind of memory disorder–they can’t remember what it was like yesterday, but today is the new normal and it is worse than we thought.
      —————————-
      Love it!

    • Yep! When the lakes had low water levels they were a “canary in the coal mine” for “Global warming”. Now that the water levels are high they’re a canary in the coal mine of “Climate Change”.

      Personally, this truck driver prefers lower water levels because, all other factors being equal, it means an earlier freeze and thus an earlier end to lake effect snows.

    • I love seeing the expanding ice walking up the shores
      i know its not nice for the homeowners(wonder how that metal barrier will go?)
      but damn its awesome to see happening cos nothing like that occurs in Aus

  4. I remember Lake Michigan levels rising in the mid-70’s causing some houses on the eastern shore across from Chicago to collapse into the lake.

    There was a US Geological Survey marker on a large concrete cube on the beach just off the Pier Street steps in Lakeside, MI. I don’t recall when it was put up but it had been there a while. The lake level rose so much the concrete steps crumbled and the survey marker cube was tilted off level.

    When my parents bought a vacation home there in 1972, there was a good 50-60 yards of beach past the Pier St. steps. A few years later it was all gone. Their neighbor across the road lost over 20 feet of his yard and I believe he had his house moved further away from the lake.

    At the time, “climate change” was not in vogue, so the high levels were blamed on the Army Corps of Engineers conspiring with the shipping companies to keep the water level high.

    Some years later, the lake level dropped and the beach was back.

  5. I live in Rochester, Michigan and in 2005 I camped on the shore of Lake Huron and it was low it looked like it could use ~3 feet more water and I was concerned. Lately sometimes on the local news they warn of high water and waves flooding erosion.

  6. What should people be called who truly believe that every aspect of this planet’s environment can / should be rendered to a state of unchanging “goldilocks” conditions?

    Moreover, such people believe that mankind has the intellectual and mechanical capabilities to bring about and preserve such “goldilocks” conditions.

      • US education system with its decade-long Common Core studies produced an entire generation of ClimateTards. Our LibTard University system is now pumping them out by the hundreds of thousands every year now, saddled with massive student loan debt they want a socialist government to forgive.

        • They also produce a group of educated idiots that think you can control a virus but locking everyone up.

          • After the first 6 weeks of lockdown went by, I don’t think controlling the virus was the real objective. Conditioning the public to government control on the other hand….

      • I can see it now: a new enviro movement (necessitating dress-up of course) –

        ‘Ecotards in Leotards’

        (Bugger! Now I’m not going to get that vision out of my head for the rest of the day 🙁 )

  7. “Since then, water supply has exceeded evaporation, partly because of several especially cold winters,”

    ROFL!!! Especially cold winters are signs of global warming!

    Sounds like a Georgy Carlin routine!

  8. Is it just me, or are we suddenly awash in daily “studies” or “predictions” or “warnings” about impending doom as November 3rd draws nearer? Nah, I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.

  9. Bombshell News on radio station WONK!
    Headline:

    Multi-million-dollar study from Dumb-Down U. confirms Great Lakes water levels change over time!

  10. That is a massive amount of water surplus the last few years in the Great Lakes, and will oscillate with climate cycles over longer time frames. But why don’t we implement large water infrastructure projects to take surplus water to where there is shortage? The Romans built their civilization on water utilization and development. There is no shortage of fresh water on the planet, just lack of foresight in developing these water resources properly due to red tape and environmentalism. The return on investment on developing water resources is always positive and over longer time frames, it not only pays for itself many times over, but is a massive multiplier to economy in general. Just look at what California did in a semi arid climate. And they are still short on water due to mismanagement. And mismanaged on so many other levels, but that is another issue.

    • The water is needed West of the Rockies, over the Continental Divide. Without building a fleet of nuclear plants to power the pumps on a massive waterway canal, it’s not gonna happen.
      Besides, with nature loving Murphy’s Law, as surely as the project were finished, a multidecade-long drought would probably hit, lowering the Great Lake water levels to preclude its use, just to punish mankind for its follies.

      • You can extract the energy out of the water you pump uphill on the downhill section, exactly like pumped storage. California already does this with much of its water supply infrastructure, and is 65%-70% efficient depending on elevations. This isn’t rocket science. And a lot of the mid west plains could be much more productive with guaranteed irrigation, providing a massive increase in GDP from increased agriculture productivity. Partial water diversions from James Bay watersheds could guarantee Great Lakes levels in perpetuity. Water from northern Canada could be piped down the Rocky Mountain Trench on the west side of the Continental Divide not having to be pumped over the mountains. Of course, probably none of this will ever happen now because there are too many socialists/marxists (and biologists) saying it can’t be done, or shouldn’t be done. In other words…politics.

        One of the things that California did get right 100+ years ago was the visionary water diversions to empower the state for industry, agriculture and a large population. Unfortunately, the biologists got them to release far too much water to the Pacific Ocean for the Smelt. When delta smelt were listed as a threatened species, the biggest cause of their population decline was identified as reduced freshwater flow into the estuary. … Because of this, a recovery plan was made that mandated increased freshwater flow for the smelt, which meant less water for agriculture. This is what President Trump is talking about when he talks about crazy Kalifornia politics. Including the Spotted Owl that upended the forest industry in the Pacific North West which some say lead to increased fires because of of lack of forest management.

        “The California SWP collects water from rivers in Northern California and redistributes it to the water-scarce but populous cities through a network of aqueducts, pumping stations and power plants. About 70% of the water provided by the project is used for urban areas and industry in Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area, and 30% is used for irrigation in the Central Valley. To reach Southern California, the water must be pumped 2,882 feet (878 m) over the Tehachapi Mountains, with 1,926 feet (587 m) at the Edmonston Pumping Plant alone, the highest single water lift in the world. The SWP shares many facilities with the federal Central Valley Project (CVP), which primarily serves agricultural users. Water can be interchanged between SWP and CVP canals as needed to meet peak requirements for project constituents. The SWP provides estimated annual benefits of $400 billion to California’s economy.”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_State_Water_Project

        • “You can extract the energy out of the water you pump uphill on the downhill section, exactly like pumped storage” Also a lot like a syphon – but not limited by available air pressure.

  11. I especially like the learned professor’s prediction of 10% increased precipitation over the next century. That is truly rolling the dice. Our precipitation models cannot be even as competent as our temperature models, which reality stubbornly refuses to follow (except the Russian model). However, 10% more precipitation over such good farmland would be a blessing for the world’s food supply, so I hope he is right, but I doubt he has any science behind his guess.

  12. Anyone care to contribute a graph of Solar Cycles with those Water Levels…? Just a quick visual seems that Solar Minimums have higher Rainfall with higher Cold Winter Ice runoff as it warms through summers with more Rainfall. Since the Little Ice Age Glaciers Melted in this Modern Warming is all they tend to go back to. What were the water levels before and after the LIA?

  13. Gee whiz, the Great Lakes have been changing their levels since the end of the last Ice Age. Oh, wait, it really isn’t over yet, is it? We’re in a warming period, probably won’t last much longer.

    Geezo Pete, the shoreline of Lake Michigan 35 miles south of where I live now used to be ALL THE WAY up to North Clark Street. I could stand on the corner of Wilson and Clark, waiting for the bus to show up, and look all the way down that ++2-mile long scoop, and realize just how much Lake Michi Gami has retreated since the last meltback, and how easily – VERY easily – it could just fill up again. Last winter provided more evidence of that when houses and hotels up in Rogers Park on beachfront property were getting swamped hard by the high tides on the lake. The Army Corps of Engineers said they’d have to reinforce the entire area from the state line south to the boot end of the lake. I think WUWT ran an article about how much overflow the Mississippi River was getting from the Great Lakes and how the Army Corps of Engineers was dealing with it.

    If you look at the map of the Great Lakes area, it is as obvious as the nose on your face (if you have a nose, that is) that Lake Michigan alone flooded the landscape all the way inland to Lake Wisconsin, which would leave the Door County peninsula as nothing but a submerged sandbar – kind of like the gigantic dune my house sits on now, and I’m 6 miles west of the shore of Lake Michigan. The marshy area where I like to go get bird and wildflower photos (and dragonflies) is marshy now, but back in that ice age, it was lake bottom.

    Not sure how far inland the eastern shore of Lake Michigan went long ago, but the western side of it back in the long ago went all the way past Marengo, IL

    The real problem is getting the grants moneygrubbers to understand that this is what the Great Lakes do – change their minds with the way the wind blows – and there’s not a whole lot they can do about it. I do wish they’d stop hiding in rooms with small windows and leave academia. Maybe it would do them good to do a little trout farming or raise catfish, or even go scare the Holy Hannah! out of the Asian carp that infest the Mississippi River. The real world is a great place to be.

    I feel somewhat sorry for them that they are so limited in their “vision’… or something like that.

    • Sara, I read once that 10,000 years ago Lake Michigan’s shore line was at Ridge Ave. And that is why Ridge is elevated. (My father told me that Ridge was elevated because it was an ancient Indian burial mound but I always found that hard to believe.)

      I read in a book on the history of the Chicago River that 200 years ago the Chicago River was a shallow stagnant swamp stream that you could wade across when it was low and that ended around Kedzie. In a heavy rain the area between the end of the Chicago River and the Des Plaines River would turn into a sheet of water and you could paddle a canoe across between the two rivers. Otherwise you had to portage between the two rivers. The eastern continental divide between the Atlantic Ocean run-off and the Gulf of Mexico run-off was around where Pulaski runs now. Regards.

      • Marty, that’s correct. Ridge is also a very ancient game trail that follows Clark Street westward south of Touhy Avenue. If you get onto Dempster Avenue from either Chicago Ave (Clark St) or Ridge and go west toward 94, you find yourself on another piece rising land until you get to I-94 (Edens northbound) and when you get west of the Ednes, you’re another 10 to 15 feet higher. It’s a gradual rise, but it’s there.

        Those really, really ancient beaches don’t truly flatten out until you’re far enough west to be near Marengo, and then it’s flatland and prairie all the way over to Freeport, and that’s where you start to see the remains of the drumlins and glacial kames left behind after the last meltback. Further on, west of Freeport, over near Stockton, you really start to see what was left behind by the glaciers.

        • Sara, if you ever get the chance that area just west of Freeport to the Iowa border is a really pretty drive. Especially after a light snow.

    • Sara, I’ve driven up and down the west coast of Michigan, just beautiful! I grew up on the other side, the lake St. Clair area. I was always on the docks of marina’s. A boat business I had (A previous life it seems) in the 1980’s. The water levels changed dramatically throughout the seasons and from year to year, particularly high in the 80’s, I remember. A novel idea at the time, were floating docks next to your ship, hinged at the main dock. They would float up and down with the changing water level. Better than manually adjusting the docks every year and jumping several feet when they were off a bit.
      I remember a news article about a small river that stopped flowing in the upper part of Michigan somewhere. Or maybe it changed course, I don’t remember. Of course, global warming was to blame.

  14. Hot, cold, wet, dry, up, down, clockwise, counterclockwise, democrat, republican, smart, stupid… there, something for everybody. A elderly and frail friend gave me this advice: start drinking a better quality of wine before it’s too late.

  15. I have no idea the answer, but seems to me that a hundred years of development around the lakes and the creation and improvement of ditches, canals, rivers etc. and all the pavement that’s been laid down would significantly increase run off into the lakes.

  16. During the time of low levels the 350.org group started coming and talking climate change causing the reduction. They also started the demands that the pipeline under the Straits of Mackinaw be shut down. The pipeline carried fossil fuel that was causing the clime change that was causing the low levels. Weepy Bill came up to the bridge made demands and almost everyone bent over and couldn’t get something done with the pipeline fast enough.

    Now the levels are high houses are falling into the lakes and they are still trying to shut down line 5. Lawsuits abound.

    More people have died having to do with the Mackinaw bridge than the pipeline, but no one wants to shut down the bridge.

  17. Experts see the fingerprints of climate change on the lakes’ record high water levels

    Experts might see the fingerprint of human activity, if they bothered to look. The level of Lake Superior is controlled by a dam at Sault Ste Marie, and the level of Lake Ontario is controlled by the Moses-Saunders Dam on the St. Lawrence River. The levels of Lakes Erie, Huron and Michigan are regulated by a complex of hydro-electric diversions and the Welland Canal, plus a partial weir just upstream from Niagara Falls. All under the overall direction of the International Joint Commission on Boundary Waters.

    Great Lakes water levels are almost entirely human controlled, and climate change has little or nothing to do with it. In response to low water levels a few years ago, the IJC started holding water back. Now that water levels are too high for comfort, they can’t let as much water go downstream as they would like, because it might mess up shipping on the St Lawrence Seaway.

  18. “Longer term, it’s anyone’s guess where lake levels are headed. The range of possibilities in the six-month forecasts by the US Army Corps of Engineers is so broad in the latter months as to be of little use, researchers say.” Physics Today.

    So, the lake level forecasts are are no better than a guess? Who’s surprised by this? Studies have shown that weather forecasts beyond two weeks are no better than random. This extremely poor article exemplifies why I stopped reading Physics Today.

  19. Climate Change belief is a pagan religion that has infected even the once-skeptical Physics community with its “take-it-on-faith” claims of causality.

    A hypothesis that “predicts” every conceivable physical outcome/result is not science but a religion. Climate Change is now fully into the realm with its religious faith-based claims.

    • “The science is maybe a little early to fully understand fluctuations in order to fully identify climate change as a driver of this drop, but there is evidence of climate change over the last thirty or forty years that would lead you to expect these water level drops to occur,” Dr. Allan says.

      As reported at abcnews.com on February 8, 2013:
      https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/great-lakes-hit-record-low-levels-climate-crisis/story?id=18440443

      It’s simply a religious faith now to invoke climate change when any hurricane, drought, flood, high water, low water, heat wave, cold wave (winter polar vortex drop), happens. It’s superstition Junk science in action, just like dowsing, like astrology, etc. Crap science from scientists who’ve lost their way and need to feed at the politically-driven grant trough to survive.

      • I always find it fascinating to go back to what “scientists” were saying at these supposedly key moments in time and look at their explications and reasoning for what they were seeing.

        Here is a pretty good 2 part detailed article from the “Milwaukee Journal Sentinel” in the summer of 2013 when the lakes water levels were very low, somewhat “unprecedented” some might say.

        http://archive.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/does-lake-michigans-record-low-water-level-mark-beginning-of-new-era-for-great-lakes-216429601.html

        The article starts with anecdotal evidence from a local, as do a lot of climate calamity articles:
        “Today it is Kuptz who is convinced the lake isn’t coming back, at least not in his lifetime, and now he is the one making plans accordingly.”

        His plan was to sell his sailboat.

        ……wonder what Mr Kuptz thinks today?….. DOH!!

        Then you get, Frank Quinn, a retired hydrologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. A guy you would probably consider pretty knowledgeable and nuanced in his thoughts about nature. No…

        “This is not a story about climate change. It is a story about climate changed.” (cue dramatic music)

        7 years later Frank’s probably keeping his thoughts to himself.

        The article adds more factoid anecdotal stories that support the threatening nature of the lakes current state of being, by talking about ice…… of course.

        Bob Krumenaker, oversees as superintendent of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in extreme northwest Wisconsin. He went skiing across the frozen lake:

        “It was a mirage.
        The reality was hidden under Krumenaker’s green pullover. He wore a red life preserver.
        The frozen white coastline belied a dramatic warming of the lake in recent years. Away from the sheltered shore around the islands, ice gave way to the churning black waves of a body of water that never really went to sleep. It rarely does anymore, its annual hibernation having become more often than not just a catnap.”

        1 year later……

        “The Associated Press reports this year’s (2014) maximum ice total for Lake Michigan broke a 37-year record of 93.1% set in 1977. And this year’s maximum total ice coverage for the entire Great Lakes is second to the record set back in February of 1979 (94.7%).”

        Listen to “the scientists!” cry these climate inquisitionistas, “listen and learn”……….

        I’ve been listening for a long time, and I’ve learnt a lot……..

  20. Was it 1979 or was it 1998 that the world suddenly and unexpectedly forgot what cycles were? Or better yet some of them discovered how to get a ahead spinning climate tales for fun, promotion, and profit.

  21. “Wuebbles is working with Argonne National Laboratory to refine a regional North American climate model to run at 4 km resolution. That should enable the simulation of clouds and convection needed to visualize precipitation trends. The model will be paired with the National Hydrologic Model. “If you were to ask me four or five years from now,” Wuebbles says, “I’d be in much better shape to tell you what’s happening to the lakes.”

    This is from PHYSICS TODAY, not yesterday, not tomorrow. I have seen lots of shoreline in my life, even some along the Great Lakes, wonder never ceases at where people build. Living in a hypothetical world, wonderful ideas as long as you check them out. At least that’s what I learned in physics classes, even in high school. Most go to the trash pile. Some are kept around for a long time with the ‘beauty’ of the idea.

    • A better climate prediction is like Fusion Energy, always just over the horizon. All they need is for the public to just keep shoveling in the money to furnace.

      The Wimpy Burger Scam: “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”.
      Wuebbles: “I’ll gladly give you a climate update in 4-5 years for more money today.”

    • Well, my prediction for the Great Lakes is that they will continue to hold as much water as possible, having a smashing good time pounding the shoreline during really, really bad storms, freeze as much surface water they can in the winter, and basically continue to confound the luminaries who pretend to themselves that they are smarter than Mother Nature.

      Really, if they’re so smart, how come we can only get barely accurate one week weather forecasts, what with all the technology and past histories available to meteorology????

  22. The US Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District has current and historic datum (Ire.usace.army.mil). Early 19th Century Great Lakes water level records were kept in Chicago because of shipping on Lake Michigan/Huron. The Soo Locks built in 1855 permitted shipping from Lake Superior to the lower Great Lakes with the Welland Canal bypassing Niagara Falls in 1833.

    Water levels going back that far demonstrate quite a varied record. The climate has varied over the last 2 centuries and a long term record suggests Great Lakes water levels have varied as well. There is no recent evidence for Global Warming’s impact on water levels.

    ” An extended period of excess evaporation that started in 1998 more than offset the added precipitation until the polar vortex event in early 2014 caused most of the lakes to freeze over. Since then, water supply has exceeded evaporation, partly because of several especially cold winters, Gronewold says.”

    Curious statement as most evaporation of the Great Lakes occurs during autumn and winter times, just before substantial ice covers the surface (ice maximum usually late January to February. The relatively warm water is evaporated by the fast moving very dry and cold Arctic air, the so-called “Alberta Clipper”. Mild winters have less ice formation. The 2019/2020 winter had less evaporation and only 9% ice cover at the maximum. Hence, high water from 2019 persists through 2020. Using the USACE data from yesterday notice that current water levels are similar to those of last year in spite of “a wet year 2020”. Precipitation does matter, primarily in Northern Ontario feeding Lake Superior and upper Lake Huron and Georgian Bay.

    I would like to see a description of the models the folks in Ann Arbor are using to inform them that current climate change is leading to rising Great Lakes water levels.

  23. I’m officially sick of the unprecedented use of the word unprecedented.
    To those ignorant of history, whether willfully ignorant or just plain ignorant, things may appear unprecedented.
    To those who do the slightest work to understand the past not much is unprecedented.
    Climate has always changed. Viruses and diseases have plagued mankind for – as long as there has been mankind.
    Lastly greed and corruption have also plagued mankind for our entire history and continue through the present in blatant attempts to create fear using the above “tools” to do so in a shallow and pathetic desire to control all of us, but most particularly the “wealthy”. After all there’s not much point in trying to make the desperately poor feel guilty over phony scams such as the above.
    The only thing “unprecedented” is the scale of the current greed and corruption.

    • I had noticed that there was a reduction in the use of “unprecedented” over the last year or so, replaced by “historic”. But now “unprecedented” is making a comeback.

      It appears that younger people, having missed studying history, think everything is new and “unprecedented” or “historic”, whereas for us old folks, it’s just the way things were when we were kids.

  24. Carry on.
    Progressive notions can no more be dislodged or tipped over than an island can be.
    Pick any topic.
    Once any progressive notion is raised, distributed and consumed by the left it becomes a parroted cliche and an immovable object regardless of what forces of fact are applied.

    • I beg your pardon, Steve, but Hank Johnson, who used to be a member of the House of Representatives, was concerned that if 1500 Marines were sent to the Island of Guam, the island would tip over.

      You see, if you can imagine it being done, it can be done, including tipping over an island by sending too many US Marines ashore for duty there. 🙂

      • Well if Hank Johnson said it, it must be true! Only thing to make it truer would be if you got it off the internet. 😉

  25. Cursory Google search reveals that Lake Superior and other Great Lakes water levels are regulated, in case of the Superior, for the last 80 years. Complaints about water levels should be addressed to the regulators.

  26. All very interesting. I haven’t visited the USA’s North Shore [just east of Cleveland] since 1967.

    Not too long ago (1983-86 ?) The Great Salt Lake was overflowing.
    Story with photos
    . . .the state installed three massive pumps—costing $60 million—to propel water into the West Desert

    Now it is quite low.
    Plans are being developed to save it.

    Keeping up with global “whatever” is hard.

    • I don’t know why they’re complaining. I really don’t. I had to start my furnace up on September 9th, which I have never, ever had to do before. Has to be a record. I’m sure I”m not the only person who set the furnace going, either. And while it did warm up briefly a couple days ago, it’s back to 45F or less at night and the furnace is busy. I expect a chill overnight on Friday –> Saturday of down to 37F, if the National Weather Service’s forecast is accurate.

      The weathermen weren’t predicting snow last week. Now, they may start doing so.

      • You can keep it please
        After a terrible spring and early summer we’ve had the best August and September in years here in calgary.

        No Snowtember this year, when we got a foot of snow in early September tearing down millions of tree branches

        Still haven’t brought in my tomatoes and the 2 week forecast still doesn’t show freezing

        I suppose that too is our fault, in which I’m fully on board

        Warm=good

      • Yes, Pat, is absolutely IS your fault. You have the unmitigated nerve to brag about still have tomatoes to pick and nice weather, to boot. It is SUCH a disgrace!!!! You should be looking and your feet and giggling about it.

        I would, anyway. Have a nice day! Enjoy the tomatoes!

  27. There’s a problem not mentioned here. People and cities built according to the lake margins from ten to a hundred years ago. The Corps says the margins lose an average foot a year. That can change. A beautiful beach….didn’t used to be there. Or…now you have a beach. Or, in the mid Eighties, a good many people moved their homes back because the rising levels and a horrid November storm ate up, in some cases, twenty feet of margin. That’s horizontal. Once the last check to the house movers cleared, the lakes started to recede. Now they’re back up. All the graph stuff is very well, but the lake shores are not not characterized by sand, or by the bottom of a dune going straight into the water, but by massive revetments of rocks. Standard is eight tons per linear foot. The companies doing the work are even going to Canada for the rocks.
    In one western Michigan town, a retail strip near the river had to be torn down because of water…the water level…was in its foundations.
    The lakes are so high that rivers feeding them are backed up.

    This is worse than the Eighties when the house movers got rich. Not many people with lakefront property have another seventy-five feet to move inland.

    I have been told water seeks its own level so many times I’ve come to believe it. But why doesn’t it? There are no artificial restrictions between the upper lakes and Niagara Falls.

  28. Google Earth can show some of the lake level fluctuations.

    The following link shows the Lakefront around Navy Pier from a few years ago. The picture contains, from north to south, The Jardine Water Purification Plant, Navy Pier, the rocky ruins of Dime Pier, and the twin edges of the Chicago River Locks.

    https://earth.google.com/web/@41.89052158,-87.60024038,177.27897321a,2592.28988562d,35y,0h,0t,0r

    Take a good look at the substantial ruins of Dime Pier. Today, Dime Pier is totally submerged, forcing the City of Chicago to place Hazard Buoys (Aids to Navigation) above the ruins to keep the approach to the locks safe.

    Turn on the Photos option in the left menu and look closely for Dime Pier in the available images to see the water level fluctuate.

    This older photo shows all four structures …

    https://lh5.ggpht.com/p/AF1QipPuDLw1jP8omXG1QfvibG0Gge_zi8988IewFB_M=w1920

    The margins of this recent photo of Navy Pier clearly show the water treatment plant on the right and the locks on the left, but Dime Pier is now completely submerged …

    https://lh5.ggpht.com/p/AF1QipO0UO4SxQQGy1Pg53_T5RjPf67U7tiriQ-d_4tO=w1920

    This older photo was taken from the locks looking north at Navy Pier with Dime Pier in the foreground.

    https://lh5.ggpht.com/p/AF1QipMPOehI73qGuq_EdEiM2ROT0N3irwQqsWV6cl_c=w1920

    Up-close old photo of Dime Pier for scale. The tree has since died from flooding and shearing from the winter ice flows.

    https://lh5.ggpht.com/p/AF1QipMDLbBSVc7lDSt_0ShM2CYzN1oTNdldkbyaFJD9=w1920

    Dime Pier half under water …

    https://lh5.ggpht.com/p/AF1QipMdSmtH1bjUFCXK2fieCDNsW4lF3mmwCp2YIF68=w1920

    Dime Pier mostly under water …

    https://lh5.ggpht.com/p/AF1QipPevOJuehSWJMws06GcCvPmhKZwa2YoVU4Dqp-o=w1920
    https://lh5.ggpht.com/p/AF1QipM23tPfW3teo4EDdTfvXTFgrX6O4rBV8PC8VaCk=w1920
    https://lh5.ggpht.com/p/AF1QipNxx8lQjSD13udFxVYkaMikw8agxszVNf4HMOCs=w1920

    Today, Dime Pier is totally underwater with Hazard Buoys floating above it.

    Current web cam view from Navy pier …

    https://www.cruisin.me/cruise-port-webcams/united-states/chicago-illinois/

    On the horizon to the right is the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse. Coming towards the shore in-line with the lighthouse is the concrete tower on the end of Dime Pier. Where’s the rest of the pier?

  29. The DryingOverflowing issue is just one more consequence along with the HeatCold and the DroughtFlood problems associated with Climate Change. You see, before the world invented internal combustion engines, the climate of the word was perfectly stable for billions and billions of years. We all realize how warm it became in the 12th century but thanks to a Papal order, SUVs in medieval London were ordered off the road and climate returned to normal, the sun stopped spotting, and we returned to the desired state of freezing cold and famine.

    Good grief, this malarkey never lets up.

  30. The report talks about rivers and streams feeding the lakes, surely there must be rivers and streams running out of the lakes to balance the levels.

  31. Well, physics the day after tomorrow (good movie title)…

    Never watched it, couldn’t get past the propaganda premise.

      • I loved the twin Cessna scene where they were flying though a downtown Los Angeles building being tossed up and then crumbled into the Pacific. Warmed my heart.

  32. “David Kramer
    Physics Today 73, 10, 26 (2020); https://doi.org/10.1063/PT.3.4589
    Seven years ago, Ron Wilson’s son was married on the beach in front of his cottage on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Were the couple to renew their vows today in the same spot, they’d be standing in nearly two meters of water. The 18-meter-wide beach has vanished, and the lake is now lapping at a steel seawall Wilson erected last winter to keep storms away from his foundation.
    […]
    Water levels have always fluctuated on the Great Lakes, but the recent extreme seesawing, particularly on the upper lakes—Superior, Michigan, and Huron—is unprecedented in the century that records have been kept (see charts). Michigan and Huron, which are linked and share the same level, stood at record highs in August, 84 cm above their historic average.”

    Ummm…
    84 cm is approximately 33 inches. Half a foot less than the 39.37 inches required to be measured as a meter.
    1) That makes Kramer’s claim of two meters fallacious.

    2) Kramer’s reference to “historic average” is another proof where the use of “average” is without useful meaning. The sole purpose for the use of “average” in the news article is to cause fear.

    • 1) That makes Kramer’s claim of two meters fallacious.

      Not just fallacious, but deceptive. He also states “Were the couple to renew their vows today in the same spot, they’d be standing in nearly two meters of water. The 18-meter-wide beach has vanished” to make you think that rising sea level is what did it. However, Erosion is often the biggest culprit in beaches disappearing, as is the case with the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. the water didn’t rise by two meters (as the “historic average” high number shows), rather most of those two meters is sand that was eroded away.

  33. How would “global warming” be responsible for rising lake levels? If the change in lake level is due to (precipitation + inflow – evaporation – outflow), one would surmise that evaporation would increase in warmer weather, which in relatively high latitudes like the Great Lakes would correlate with more sunshine and less precipitation. This would imply that rising lake levels would be due to a locally COOLING climate.

    So maybe those lakefront dwellers might want to increase their CO2 emissions to promote more evaporation and less precipitation, or ask the canal managers near Detroit to let some more water out into Lake Erie and over Niagara Falls.

  34. Flooding in 2017 and 2019 was caused by the implementation of “PLAN 2014” iniated by the IJC (International Joint Commission) starting January 1, 2017 which aimed “to restore 26,000 hectares (64,000 acres) of coastal wetlands and improve habitat for fish and wildlife.” That’s why the fish were swimming on the front lawns. The “climate change” advocates inserted themselves into the planning stages of the IJC which controls the Great Lakes water levels via the joint US/Canada owned Moses Saunders dam. The bureaucrats in charge simply followed the rules and lots of towns and cities felt the results. Lots of lawsuits have followed as well as lots of insurance claims.

  35. Years ago people floated a plan to pipe water from the Great Lakes to irrigate California farms. People who live around the lakes panicked at the thought of California draining our lakes. But I’ll bet they’d be happy to sell a foot or two now.

  36. What has not been mentioned in this whole thread is that The Great Lakes Basin in still in isostatic rebound from its depression from the weight of more a than a two mile thick sheet of ice. Anyone who has sailed The North Channel of Lake Huron between Manotoulin Island and the south shore of Ontario can attest to beach shelves that are now 100s of feet above the current lake level. The crust under the lakes is very geologically bouncy .

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