Lakes Water Resources Lake Levels
The Great Lakes/St.
Lawrence Seaway is internationally shared resource used for shipping,
transportation, fishing, and hydroelectric power generation. The
Great Lakes are also one of the prime recreational boating areas
in the country.
The CGCM1 model
used in the current assessment suggests a trend toward lower Great
Lakes levels a drop of 1.5 to 3 feet on the various
lakes within the next 30 years. Output from the HadCM2 model suggests
no change to a slight increase in lake levels. Ice cover will also
likely decrease, both in terms of days with ice cover and thickness
Unique findings from this assessment:
the transient models for the year 2030 shows that significant
changes to the Great Lakes water resources could come sooner
rather than later.
the use of the HadCM2 has indicated for the first time that
there is a potential for slightly higher water levels under
climate changethe prior nine model runs for the Great
Lakes water resource studies, including the current CGCM1 have
all indicated a major lowering of lake levels and a reduction
of water supplies.
With the help of an interest satisfaction regulation model for
Lake Ontario, we have the ability to assess impacts on specific
interests using a variety of regulation scenarios.
Lake Regional Summary Water Resources report (PDF) available
comparison from selected climate change studies. The size of the
marker is keyed to the magnitude of the change in lake level. The
color represents different studies: the lavender ones (1-4) were
taken from previous studies at the Great Lakes Environmental Research
Laboratory (GLERL); the yellow ones (5-8) were taken from a recent
study by Phil Chao; and the green ones (9-12) were done most recently
specifically for this assessment.