Lake Michigan and Lake Huron hit all-time low water levels

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:00 PM GMT on February 06, 2013

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During January 2013, water levels on Lake Michigan and Lake Huron fell to their all-time lowest values since record keeping began in 1918, said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday. The two lakes (which are connected and are hydrologically the same lake) fell to a water level of 576.02'. This is 0.4" below the previous record low of 576.05' set in March 1964. The lakes have dropped 17 inches since January 2012, and are now 29 inches below their long-term average. Lake Superior is about 9" above its all-time low water level, and Lakes Erie and Ontario are just 6" below average (26 - 27" above their all-time lows), so these lakes will not set new low water records in 2013. The latest forecast calls for Lake Superior to drop 2 inches during February, Lake Michigan and Huron to drop 1 inch, Lake Erie to rise 2 inches, and Lake Ontario remain near its current level.


Figure 1. Low water levels at Old Mission Point Lighthouse at Grand Traverse Bay, Lake Michigan, during July 2000. Image credit: NOAA/GLERL.


Why the record lows?
The record-low water levels on Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are due, in part, to dredging operations in their outflow channel, the St. Clair River. The dredging, which stopped in the 1960s, is blamed for a long-term 10 - 16" decrease in water levels. The record low water levels on Lake Michigan and Lake Huron in January occurred despite the fact that precipitation over their watershed was 61% above average during the month. However, precipitation over the past 12 months was only 91% of average, and runoff into the lakes depends upon precipitation over longer than a 1-month period. Furthermore, evaporation over these lakes was much higher than average during January, making the net water supplied to the lakes (runoff into the lakes, plus precipitation over the lakes, minus evaporation from the lakes) only 63% of average. What caused the increased evaporation? Well, very warm water temperatures, for one. According to NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), water temperatures over Lake Michigan are currently about 2.5°F above average, and are about 1°F above average over Lake Huron. These warm water temperatures are the lingering effects of the extraordinary warmth of 2012, which was the warmest year on record over much of the Great Lakes region. Also increasing the evaporation from the lakes during January was the presence of less ice cover than average, which exposed more open water to the air.


Figure 2. The water level on Lake Huron and Lake Michigan measured during 2012 - 2013 (red line) hit an all-time low during January 2013, beating the previous record set in March 1964. The predicted water levels for February - March call for record lows both months. Image credit: Army Corps of Engineers.

Ice cover declining, water temperatures warming, and precipitation increasing in recent decades
The long-term future of Great Lakes water levels is cloudy, since climate change is expected to bring competing effects. A 2011 paper by scientists at NOAA Great Lakes Environemental Research Laboratory found that lake levels could rise or fall, depending upon the climate change scenario used. On the one hand, precipitation has increased by 12% over Michigan during the past century, and is expected to increase even more in the coming decades. This would tend to increase lake levels. However, lake water temperatures are predicted to increase and ice cover decrease, which would heighten evaporation rates. This would tend to lower lake levels. Ice cover on North America's Great Lakes--Superior, Michigan, Huron, Ontario, and Erie--has declined 71% since 1973, according to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Climate by researchers at NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. The loss of ice is due to warming of the lake waters, which could be due to a combination of global warming and natural cycles, the researchers said. Winter air temperatures over the lower Great Lakes increased by about 2.7°F (1.5°C) from 1973 - 2010, and by 4 - 5°F (2.3 - 2.7°C) over the northern Lakes, including Lake Superior. Lake Superior's summer surface water temperature warmed 4.5°F (2.5°C) over the period 1979 - 2006 (Austin and Colman 2007). During the same period, Lake Michigan warmed by about 3.3°F (1.7°C), Lake Huron by 4.3°F (2.4°C), and Lake Erie (which is shallow and loses and gains heat relatively quickly) showed almost no warming. The Army Corps of Engineers is also considering adding speed bumps to the bottom of the St. Clair River to slow down drainage of Lake Huron, which would act to increase water levels in Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.


Figure 3. Average yearly precipitation over the state of Michigan increased by about 12% per century since 1895, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

References
Austin, J. A., and S. Colman, 2007, "Lake Superior summer water temperatures are increasing more rapidly than regional air temperatures: A positive ice-albedo feedback," Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L06604, doi:10.1029/2006GL029021.

Wang, J., X. Bai, H. Hu, A.H. Clites, M.C. Colton, and B.M. Lofgren, 2012, "Temporal and spatial variability of Great Lakes ice cover, 1973-2010," Journal of Climate 25(4):1318-1329 (DOI:10.1175/2011JCLI4066.1)

Jeff Masters

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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
On a tropical weather-related note, the National Climatic Data Center has released its damage total for Sandy.

$71.4 billion in New York and New Jersey alone.


add 2 billion from Cuba = $73.4 billion... and whenever the rest of the US say, Bahamas, Haiti and Jamaica....

poor piggy bank
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
280. VR46L
The potential Trouble Maker ...Heading through LA and MS

Loop Embedded

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I know some models say potato and others say tomato...

I don't know if MA boy is here... look for nearly 2' in Boston and over 2' north of there, like in Danvers, Gloucester and in Newburyport... Massachusetts.


Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
Boston averages 45.1 inches of snow per year.

If the NAM or ECMWF verify, they could come very near reaching that in this storm alone.
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On a tropical weather-related note, the National Climatic Data Center has released its damage total for Sandy.

$71.4 billion in New York and New Jersey alone.
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276. VR46L
Quoting Naga5000:


If some people were as obsessed with learning about climate science and participating in academic discussion as they are obsessed with what you do, we might be able to actually have a conversation about it.


Actually Post 146 opened the door , where the photo is of a church which has the signpost inferring the church of Neapolitan . So I think its a fair Question , How should he be addressed then ?
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Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:


please...don't ruin my confidence.


;) that's like 3 days out during Rita in the Gulf, and I'm supposedly going to get blown away with a cat 5 or 4 cane that was forecasted to go south of me then in reality it turns into Lousiana.

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Quoting RitaEvac:


Miiiiight...wanna wait until AFTER the so called event happens.


please...don't ruin my confidence.
Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
SPC-will be interesting to see where this low bombs out this weekend..

tomorrow


day after tomorrow (Doom)
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16222
Quoting trHUrrIXC5MMX:
Finally.... the big snow i've been waiting for...



Miiiiight...wanna wait until AFTER the so called event happens.
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Finally.... the big snow i've been waiting for...

Member Since: April 23, 2011 Posts: 104 Comments: 14873
You all are right.No one is forcing you to read.Which is why If Doc makes a blog related to G.W I just kindly leave and don't participate.Or I skip to comments in the comments section to things related on what I want to talk about.Now shove that...
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Sorry guys for the images but I found this interesting on the 00z/12z runs..a lot of rain/snow depending where you live on the east coast

00z CMC-long range




12z CMC..this weekend.







later down the road




Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16222
So let's assume it's a 10:1 ratio and not more...have fun tunneling boston:



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Quoting Neapolitan:
Since participation here--and in every other single science-based forum in existence--is strictly voluntary, I'm not certain just how much "shoving" is going on. It's like a smorgasbord; anyone here is free to take and swallow whatever he or she wishes. Accusing the chef of doing any "shoving" is, then, silly and not based in reality.


If some people were as obsessed with learning about climate science and participating in academic discussion as they are obsessed with what you do, we might be able to actually have a conversation about it.
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Quoting ncstorm:


it was a flop at the box office..


Check out the 1951 original, not the crappy 2008 with Keanu Reaves
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Quoting LargoFl:
gee rita they are putting them up all over the place here, wish WE could get rid of them also..but they will just find another way to rob us of more money..sometimes and i hate to sound like a repub..but sometimes i think that "smaller Govt" is the way to go..never thought i'd agree with them but..these days geez...people are having a tough time as it is without the local,state and feds robbing us of more...sorry for this rant..my apologies


Just look at your cell phone, internet, TV bill.
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Quoting RitaEvac:


We just voted out our red light cameras, they're already coming down. How they are authorized in the first place without voter approval is beyond me, then we have a vote to take them down or not. (after they made their revenue)


That is true and I agree with the removal of the cameras.

Now, if only we could vote out climate change as well?
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Latest NAM snow totals Link
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I think Winter Storm Nemo will probably be at least major (3) on the NESIS scale. If it bombs a little sooner and dumps snow to Philadelphia too we might get a crippling (4). GFS is trending to euro, could become top 5 for Boston.

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for north and central georgia................DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...THURSDAY THROUGH TUESDAY...
AN UPPER LEVEL DISTURBANCE AND DEVELOPING WARM FRONT WILL BRING
RAIN TO THE AREA THURSDAY AND FRIDAY. A SECOND WAVE WILL APPROACH
THE AREA AND BRING MORE RAIN CHANCES TO THE STATE SUNDAY THROUGH
TUESDAY. CURRENTLY 2 TO 4 INCHES OF PRECIPITATION IS EXPECTED
ACROSS THE AREA SUNDAY THROUGH TUESDAY SO SOME FLOODING MAY ALSO
BE EXPECTED. THERE IS LITTLE INSTABILITY WITH THESE SYSTEMS SO
THUNDERSTORMS ARE NOT EXPECTED THROUGH DAY 7 AT THIS TIME.
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Quoting RitaEvac:


That's because it wasn't entertainment, it scared the hell outta everybody. Man can't control nature, and when Man is not in control Man is not interested. No benefit to Man means not in our interest.


not true..Day after tomorrow did very well..

the day the earth stood still movie was nothing more but terrible acting and involved a story line of aliens who were for GW..LOL..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16222
Quoting stormchaser43:
No, sir. But we will continue to pound away at the agenda. Another way to wage war against corporations and capitalism by the extreme far left. Don't get it. Never will.


Both the extreme far left and far rights are idiots.
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Quoting RitaEvac:


We just voted out our red light cameras, they're already coming down. How they are authorized in the first place without voter approval is beyond me, then we have a vote to take them down or not. (after they made their revenue)
gee rita they are putting them up all over the place here, wish WE could get rid of them also..but they will just find another way to rob us of more money..sometimes and i hate to sound like a repub..but sometimes i think that "smaller Govt" is the way to go..never thought i'd agree with them but..these days geez...people are having a tough time as it is without the local,state and feds robbing us of more...sorry for this rant..my apologies
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Reinforcing my ideas for February temperature anomalies are the ECMWF Weeklies which came out yesterday. Unfortunately, I don't have direct access to them, so at the time I made my forecast I didn't have access to them. They do match up quite well with my outlook, however.

ECMWF Weeklies for Feb 11-17



ECMWF Weeklies for Feb 18-24



ECMWF Weeklies for Feb 25 - Mar 3




My February Outlook




For those who missed my reasoning behind these forecasted anomalies, the current and forecasted MJO phases, recent tank in SOI values, and mean height anomalies experienced in January as well as projected ensemble projected height anomalies for February made the basis of the forecast. Seasonal models and CPC outlooks were also referenced, though certainly not followed.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
If this little corner of the internet doesn't please your inner monkey, perhaps seek out a different blog (or start your own!) rather than wasting comment space with the same impotent complaints.



PS - if you are being FORCED to read this blog then please send us a subtle signal and give us some idea of your physical location. We will contact the authorities and send help immediately!!

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Quoting weatherrx2012:
I really hate to be rude, but why on earth is Dr. Masters only talking about the low levels of Lake Michigan and Huron. There was a major earthquake/tsunami in the Pacific Ocean last night, which caused a lot of damage, and there is a major WINTER storm that could potentially impact the North East this weekend. He could have mentioned both of these events in his article, along with the low lake levels. I understand that the low levels of water on the lake can majorly impact the shipping industry and cause multiple other problems, for the Great Lake community; but I don't think it should be the only topic of his article. He could have at least mentioned the other events, along with the low lake levels. Just my opinion though.

P.S.,
The earth has constantly gone through weather cycles, both warm and cold, throughout its history. So why is it that we constantly freak out over this warm cycle that we are currently in? Most weather records only date back to the 1800's. So who is to say that we didn't have a period on earth that was warmer than this one? You can't. So lets stop freaking out about Global Warming so much and start getting back to normal everyday weather events. I'm not saying never mention Global Warming, because it is an interesting topic, I'm only suggesting that we stop hyper focusing on it.


I have long observed that it matters little what Dr. Maters has a blog topic. There will inevitably be someone that will complain about some aspect of it.

As for your "P.S.", there is so much that you say that is highly opinionated and is not associated with the relevant information.

Weather cycles happen all of the time. La Nina years, El Nino years and even the change of the seasons in the higher latitudes create weather cycles. You do not need to know the last one billion years of Earth's weather data to know this.

No one is "freaking out" about the "warm cycle" we are currently in. What does draw serious concern is the amount of warming that has occurred within such a short time frame and the strong indications that this warming trend will continue. What is even more concerning is that there is very strong, scientific evidence that it is mankind that is largely responsible for the current warming trend. What is even more concerning is that there has been unsettling success with the denial industry puppets in keeping any meaningful attempts at mitigation of the problem from being addressed beyond the "let's debate this whole thing again" nonsense. "Adaptation" will come, but with a large degree of uncertainty as to how far and as to how fast we can adapt.

".... start getting back to normal everyday weather events." LOL! What do you think we are doing? What is "normal" now is that we appear to have many more intense and enduring weather events to talk about now than what there were before. .... Welcome to this year's "normal" weather events.

"....I'm only suggesting that we stop hyper focusing on it. All the evidence shows us that if we do not "hyper" focus on this now then the time to focus on it at all may well escape us and we will just have to "deal with it" as best as we can. Instead of just dealing with whatever may come from climate change we should use our intelligence to best ward off the worst of what might come. .... When we throw our kids into the deep end of the pool and yell, "sink or swim", then we do so knowing that we are there to pull them out if they sink. When it comes to climate change, we throw our children into the deep end and then just walk away. Hopefully, they will swim.
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Quoting stormchaser43:
You tell me this, Overwash? How is that any different from relentlessly and ENDLESSLY getting the Global Warming / Climate Change agenda shoved down your throat each and EVERY single day??
Since participation here--and in every other single science-based forum in existence--is strictly voluntary, I'm not certain just how much "shoving" is going on. It's like a smorgasbord; anyone here is free to take and swallow whatever he or she wishes. Accusing the chef of doing any "shoving" is, then, silly and not based in reality.
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Quoting stormchaser43:
Tell us something we don't know. But yes, Largo. Spot on. Back in the 1970's it was the ice age we were bombarded with. Now this. Cracks me up.
Global warming will be the cause of the next ice-age,wouldn't that be comical?
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Quoting FunnelVortex:


I remember the Great Lakes storm of 2010 (I was in it). Its uncommon to see an extratropicial cyclone this organized occur over land.



Something tells me this will be quite similar.

This storm is actually going to come about much differently than that storm did. The 2010 storm was supported by one powerful and well defined 500 mb disturbance that went negative once it entered the plains. This one is in a zonal pattern and will involve the phasing together of two different 500 mb disturbances. The phasing allows the now congealed disturbance to amplify and has a negative tilt because the more northerly disturbance caught up to the southerly one and phased with the southerly one further west. This one will also have a surface high to send cold air into the storm while the 2010 storm did not and was much warmer.

In other words, the 2010 storm was a classic bomb and this upcoming storm looks to be a classic blockbuster nor'easter.
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 47 Comments: 11707
Quoting stormchaser43:
You tell me this, Overwash? How is that any different from relentlessly and ENDLESSLY getting the Global Warming / Climate Change agenda shoved down your throat each and EVERY single day??
I'm on your side! It's not like everybody can and will stop burning fossil fuels today,tomorrow,or in the near future,is it?
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Funny how Nea and others alike attack people who believe in religion because it hasn't been proven by scientist...But rub G.W in your face because it has been proven.So what are you trying to say?.Yes I do believe in G.W but I'm not over dramatic and downing others that don't and prancing around being a smart a**......This is why I've stayed away.No one respond.
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Quoting LargoFl:
Global Warming equals..More Tax revenue...remember that..I dont believe a word they say...same thing with red light camera's etc...safety? ..no... more tax revenue..legal mugging in my view...14 trillion in the hole?...just watch what they come up with in the future..the near future.


We just voted out our red light cameras, they're already coming down. How they are authorized in the first place without voter approval is beyond me, then we have a vote to take them down or not. (after they made their revenue)
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Global Warming equals..More Tax revenue...remember that..I dont believe a word they say...same thing with red light camera's etc...safety? ..no... more tax revenue..legal mugging in my view...14 trillion in the hole?...just watch what they come up with in the future..the near future.
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Quoting FunnelVortex:


Because no one likes preachy crap.
Apparently some people do! LOl
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Quoting ncstorm:


it was a flop at the box office..


Because no one likes preachy crap.
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they only caught and turned in 50,hunt ends tomorrow..wont catch ME walking around in the everglades anytime soon lol.............The total number of pythons living in Florida is estimated to be anywhere from a few thousand animals to a few hundred thousand.
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Quoting ncstorm:


it was a flop at the box office..


That's because it wasn't entertainment, it scared the hell outta everybody. Man can't control nature, and when Man is not in control Man is not interested. No benefit to Man means not in our interest.
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239. VR46L
Quoting ncstorm:


I dont want to know..thats one church I wont be visiting..I get enough of that religion on this blog..


LOL I know what you mean ....
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Quoting ncstorm:


I dont want to know..thats one church I wont be visiting..I get enough of that religion on this blog..


Who? Nea?
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Quoting LargoFl:
HOLLY CARP!!!
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Thanks Largo,
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Quoting VR46L:


He never answered my Question , I would like to know should I address him as Fr , Pastor or Reverend !
As I am respectful to Members of the clergy !


I dont want to know..thats one church I wont be visiting..I get enough of that religion on this blog..
Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 16222
Ryan Maue‏@RyanMaue

Once the Nor'easter & following Midwest Storm exit, Arctic cold may descend on CONUS for Week 2. Not much would melt very fast.
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anyone Like redfish?..this caught down by ft meyers....
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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