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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Michigan Lake Levels Not Changed By Global Warming After All

Reposted from “The Blog Prof” by Chris J. Kobus, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan
Ice on Lake Superior, March 3rd, 2009

So much for global warming causing the Great Lakes to dry up. Lake levels are back to normal (whatever researchers defines as “normal” I suppose, since the data doesn’t go back that far) after decreasing some for the better past of the last decade. Even though global warming zeolots were quick to point the finger at CO2, the cause for the decrease was in fact - ice dams!

From the Detroit News today: Study: Ice jam caused Great Lake water levels to drop. From the article:

A steady drop in water levels in Lake Michigan/Huron over the first half of this decade resulted from natural causes, not man-made ones, according to U.S. and Canadian researchers, noting that the past 18 months of rising waters could be an indication the lakes are headed back to normal levels.

Researchers working for the International Joint Commission this week released the findings of a two-year study on the St. Clair River and the amount of water running through it out of Lake Michigan/Huron. The study was launched to answer questions by lake shore residents who had watched the steady drop of water levels in recent years.

Critics are already up in arms! I kid you not! Get a load of this:

that’s not sitting well with members of the Canadian environmental group GBA Foundation, which funded its own study in 2004 which put the blame on human activity.”The fact that (the report) completely dismisses such an enormous increase in outflow and recommends that nothing be done about it is very disturbing,” said Roy Schatz, GBA’s founding president, in a press release.

They sure do get angry when humans are not pegged as the culprits, eh? Lastly,

The joint commission looked at changes in the Great Lakes between 1962 and 2006, during which the difference in the water level between Lake Michigan/Huron and the lower-sitting Lake Erie has shrunk by nine inches.

Researchers suggest three contributing factors:

• A change in the St. Clair River’s capacity, or conveyance, most likely created during a monthlong freeze of the river in 1984 that resulted in scouring of the river bottom.

• Changing climate patterns, including greater rain and snowfall in Lakes Erie and Ontario than in the northern Great Lakes.

• Shifts in the Earth’s crust, called glacial isostatic adjustment, that are the result of the planet’s rebound from the melting of glaciers 10,000 years ago.

So we’re still experiencing effects from that ice age 10,000 years ago! Can’t wait for someone from the IPCC to call for the firing of these researchers. Kudos to the liberal Detroit News for even giving this research a fair shake, albeit the News ignores the whole global warming controversy with respect to lake level decreases altogether. As a matter of fact, just two months ago there was resaerch presented in the press hypothesizing that global warming was causing less ice on the Great Lakes, for which I had this response:

Why do I label this as strange? Well, because I just wrote a post not long ago about how 3 of the Great Lakes have completely frozen over this winter for the first time in many years. (MI adds to anti-global warming evidence) The freezing of the Great Lakes happens about once a decade. The last time was in 2003 and before that 1994, according to Ice Service records, and it was 1982 before that. Nothing in the article indicates how these scientists reached their conclusions, or how the measurements were taken. … As for the lake levels, they are back to whatever researchers have defined as “normal:” Global Warming? “Harsh winters push lake levels back to near normal”.

UPDATE: The freep has a corresponding article to the news. Pretty much the same, except that at the very, very end, the freep holds out some hope for the global warming alarmists:

The study is continuing, looking at the long-term effects of climate change. If the upper lakes drop steeply in the coming decades, then it might be time to make man-made changes in the St. Clair River…

UPDATE #2: Here’s an article from the Detroit News in 2008 about how global warming will lower lake levels: Global warming may drop Great Lakes water levels from Thu May 29, 2008. Here’s a snippet from that article:

The report draws on science about global warming to make predictions for the Great Lakes, such as:

• Climate change will boost daily high temperatures between 5.4 and 10.8 degrees.

• Warmer lakes will mean less ice cover and lower water levels of 1 to 3 feet in the next century.

• Biological “dead zones,” where plants and animals can’t live, will spread.

• Intense storms will swamp stressed sewage treatment plants, forcing them to release raw and partially treated sewage into the lakes.


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