Say it ain’t so… The affects of Climate Change on the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes are the single largest system of fresh water on the Earth’s surface, containing nearly 21 percent of the world’s fresh water supply and over 84 percent of North America’s. Millions of people rely on these lakes to supply them with drinking water, food and fuel. Even though Michigan and other states in the Great Lakes basin have more than enough water at the moment, this may not always remain true considering the effects that the Earth’s changing climate is having on them.

According to an article published in the Midland Daily News this past March, the overall effects of climate change in the Great lakes basin could cause some serious problems such as lower water levels, more severe storms and hotter temperatures. These factors have already been destroying many of the Great Lakes wetlands and other natural habitats. The gradual change in climate is also causing “decreased ice cover” which means heavier and harsher rainfall for the Great Lakes Basin. While looking for more information I was expecting to find shocking results that showed just how much the Great Lakes water levels were lowering, however as of right now some results are showing otherwise. Another article I read covered by an ABC affiliate news channel in Cleveland, OH talked about how the water levels of Lake Erie are currently above normal records, instead of below like many had anticipated. In fact the average level of water for Lake Erie for the month of April is 174.22 and as of April 1st, 2012 it was 174.36. Even thought that doesn’t seem like a huge increase, it was certainly surprising to me.

Another One of the main problems discussed throughout the Midland Daily article revolves around the Earths’ ever increasing global population and how more food will need to be produced to keep up. In fact by the year 2050 the amount of grain produced worldwide will need to double in order to sustain the growing number of mouths that need to be fed.  If ours agricultural ways don’t become more “efficient” by this time the water used for agricultural needs will have to double too, which is where the problem lies. How can we use twice as much water as we do now for food, if our water supply continues to dwindle down little by little every day?

By: Emily Moffitt

Sources:

http://www.ourmidland.com/news/article_5f38bb86-e030-5f16-9441-8c6026d83e55.html

http://www.epa.gov/greatlakes/factsheet.html

http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/weather/weather_news/Are-Lake-Erie-water-levels-falling

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5 responses

  1. WOW! How interesting! I knew that the great lakes were a big source of water, and I always thought that it could never run out, but that is a serious problem! It is scary that by 2050 we will be facing a serious problem. I agree with you that some of those stats are mind blowing. We will need to increase the grain, which means increasing the water. The fact that our water supply is diminishing scares me.

    India Houston

  2. It is sad to hear that the largest source of freshwater is running out of water, especially because we are surrounded by the Great Lakes. I just read in article that the levels of the Great Lakes are up from the last year, which is good to hear. Also, they’re expected to rise in the next month by a few inches. We need to somehow increas the water supply, even though some strategies may be very costly

    Whitney Webb

  3. Michigans Great Lakes are some of natures most breathtaking sites. All the uproar about Global Warming is silly – it focuses on the economy (which IS also important), but also makes way for even the slightest regard for nature. I agree with a more balanced system. The chemicals in the water only progress in the chemical process – and the world needs more water, as described in your post. I think that this need is EVEN greater than the conservation of Michigan’s nature.

    Zac Brunell

  4. The section on how water levels may be rising was really interesting. It was refreshing to see a separate argument from another source. It might have been helpful to include more mitigation strategies. I had trouble understanding how the last paragraph related to the earlier ones.
    Sean Smith

  5. It is sad to hear that the largest source of freshwater is running out of water, especially because we are surrounded by the Great Lakes. I just read in article that the levels of the Great Lakes are up from the last year, which is good to hear. Also, they’re expected to rise in the next month by a few inches. We need to somehow increas the water supply, even though some strategies may be very costly

    Whitney Webb

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