Water Loss from the Great Lakes

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  07 Mar 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6175, pp. 1084-1085
DOI: 10.1126/science.1249978

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


As marine coastal populations experience and plan for rising ocean levels (1), residents along the coasts of Earth's largest lake system are encountering the opposite problem: persistent low water levels and a receding shoreline. In January 2013, federal agencies from the United States and Canada documented the lowest water levels ever recorded on lakes Michigan and Huron (2). Only 6 years earlier, historically low water levels were recorded on Lake Superior (3), which feeds into the Lake Michigan-Huron system. These low water levels are symptoms of an imbalance in the water budget of the Great Lakes. Adapting to, and potentially mitigating, low water level conditions requires improved quantification of the factors that drive the imbalance.