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Frigid Forecast for Water Temperatures on Great Lakes This Summer

Of all the images of ice last winter, one of my favorites was a friend’s photo of crumpled sheets of blue ice on the west side of Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan. With her smartphone, Denise McDonough snapped a photo that looked like it was taken by a polar explorer, not by one of…

Geography in the News: Asian Carp

By Neal Lineback and Mandy Lineback Gritzner, Geography in the NewsTM Invasive Asian Carp An aggressive invasive species—the Asian carp—is threatening the Great Lakes. Able to consume one-third of its body weight in a day, the carp can grow up to five feet (152 cm) long. It also reproduces very quickly. Its presence may spell…

Where Did the Water Go? Busting 5 Myths About Water Levels on the Great Lakes

Much-needed rain in the Great Lakes basin helped water levels recover somewhat this summer. Higher than average precipitation throughout most of the region in July left Lakes Erie and Ontario with above average water levels for this time of year, according to the most recent monthly water level report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers…

Rebirth of Lake Sturgeon: Freshwater Species of the Week

At a fish-rearing facility near Michigan‘s Kalamazoo River, I’m peering inside a big, water-filled tub at lake sturgeon eggs no bigger than BB pellets. Someday these will grow into the biggest fish in North America, but for now, they’re the precious cargo of a state program to bring these freshwater giants back to their native…

Low Lake Levels: Don’t Fight Nature, Plan for It

The Great Lakes hold 20 percent of the world’s available surface freshwater–enough to cover the continental United States with 10 feet of water if you turned them upside down. In many places along the lakes, you can stand on one side without seeing the shoreline on the other because they are so huge. It’s difficult…

Lakes Michigan and Huron Fall to Record Lows

It looks like low water levels on the Great Lakes will be added to the record-breaking climate-related events of 2012. The water level on Lakes Michigan and Huron dropped another 2.5 inches (6 cm) in December, unofficially breaking a nearly 50-year-old record for the month. Last month’s average for both lakes – considered one lake…

Warming Lakes: Climate Change and Variability Drive Low Water Levels on the Great Lakes

  For people living around the Great Lakes, water levels this past month have appeared much lower than many will remember. The upper Great Lakes reached near-record low water levels in October. This was most evident on Lakes Michigan and Huron, where lake levels dropped to less than two inches (4 cm) above record lows…

Lake Michigan Plagued by Hot and Wild Weather, Waterspouts

Reports of bizarre Wizard of Oz-like weather over Lake Michigan are touching down all over the Internet.

This past weekend, up to nine twisters were sighted over the lake. But they weren’t traditional tornadoes; they were waterspouts.

The funnels form when large, cool, and moist air masses move in over warmer surface water and winds abruptly change directions. The warming trend that researchers and locals are seeing around the Great Lakes could mean more waterspouts.