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Global Warming Transforming Lake Waters around the Planet

2013/01/20

As the atmosphere warms, so are the world’s lakes.

That includes the five “Great Lakes” of North America.  Milder winters mean less ice cover.  Warmer summers mean greater evaporation.  Put it all together and you begin to see important changes that not only affect aquatic life, but also have an economic impact on the people who depend on those lakes.  For example:

  • The Great Lakes hold 80% of North America’s fresh water and provide drinking water for 40 million North Americans.
  • Many industries depend on the Great Lakes for the transportation of cargo.  As water levels drop, navigation will become more difficult.
  • Tourism and recreational activities will be negatively affected.  Recreational fishing alone is 7 billion dollars a year industry.
  • Investments will have to be made in order to adapt docks and dredge lake bottoms.
  • Habitats of countless fish, birds and other mammals will be altered.
  • The Great Lakes are warming faster than the world’s oceans.  This will cause more algal blooms, leading to toxic cyanobacteria.
  • Warming waters will also increase the impacts of harmful invasive species.

So, really, it’s not looking good for our Great Lakes… or those in other parts of the world.  Take a look:

Just one more reason why climate change is a problem that needs to be tackled as aggressively as possible.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. 2013/01/20 11:30 am

    Living in Texas, I don’t think much about the Great Lakes (having never been that far north), so this was thought-provoking for me. I have, however, seen first-hand the effects of severe drought and rising temperatures in already-brutal Texas summers, and the warming affects are affecting lakes here as well.

    • 2013/01/20 2:00 pm

      I’m glad the post was “thought provoking” for you. Myself living in Canada, I hadn’t heard much about the Great Lakes and climate change until coming across this information.
      I’d be interested to know how has Texas been adapting to the recent years of drought? I read stories of building pipelines to other states in order to buy more water. Is that true? Have there been limitations on water use?

      • 2013/01/20 6:32 pm

        Water restrictions are pretty common here. I haven’t heard anything about the pipelines, but it wouldn’t surprise me. To be honest, our biggest problem around here right now is water contamination from fracking, no matter how much local and company officials deny it.

      • 2013/01/20 7:19 pm

        “To be honest, our biggest problem around here right now is water contamination from fracking, no matter how much local and company officials deny it.”
        That’s very interesting. Although I’ve read articles about water contamination from fracking and seen the movie Gasland, this is the first time that I “hear” about it directly.
        Fracking is one of those things I wish we could un-invent. Like nuclear weapons and Reality TV!

      • 2013/01/20 7:29 pm

        Oh, definitely! I used to live out in the country, and they put two gas wells in within a mile. We noticed a definite change in water quality. And my best friend still lives in that area, and they don’t drink their (well) water. It’s sad, and it makes me angry that the gas companies are being so irresponsible, and the government is letting them get away with it.

      • 2013/01/20 7:40 pm

        Having your water source contaminated is one of those things… it’s such a basic necessity and to have it taken away. Argh! And worst of all, we are still talking about “studying the impacts” in order to create regulations. It is insane.

  2. 2013/01/26 12:23 pm

    From the video at about 49 seconds:
    “The warming (of Lake Superior) is much greater than anyone expected.”

    Just how many times do we have to hear words like those before we start behaving in a manner that fits our species description as ‘the wise, thinking man’?

    • 2013/01/26 8:07 pm

      I’ve asked myself a similar question on many occasions.

      What is the term you often use: Homo fatuus brutus?

      • 2013/01/27 5:28 pm

        That’s the one: man, the stupid fool.

      • 2013/01/27 5:51 pm

        Oh. I thought it translated to “the fat brute”… But, stupid fool works too 🙂

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