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A Graphic Depiction of Past and Present Great Lakes Water Levels (Essay Sample)


A Graphic Depiction of Past and Present Great Lakes Water Levels

A Graphic Depiction of Past and Present Great Lakes Water Levels
The Great Lakes is a series of interconnected fresh water bodies, which forms part of the cultural and physical heritage of Northern America. The water levels of the Great Lakes have registered fluctuations over a vast period of years. Studies show that the fluctuations relate to the climatic changes affecting the Lakes basin. The advance and the rise in the glacier surrounding the lake basin caused the changes in the water level in the geologic period. The retreat of the glaciers in the lake basin has caused fluctuations in the water levels. Scientific studies shows that the level of the Lakes’ waters in the last five thousand years were approximately twenty-one feet (21 feet) higher than today (Bennett, 36). The changes in the water level occur in effect of some natural factors, including precipitation that falls directly on the water bodies, inlets from the upper lakes, groundwater and evaporation caused by an increase in the rate of global warming. The artificial factors affecting the water levels include diversion of the inlet-waters from the lakes and excess consumptive uses. Variability of climatic conditions functions as the major cause of the changes in the Great Lakes’ water levels.
A change in climatic conditions has a great effect on these natural water bodies, by causing the water-level fluctuations. Todays’ scientists and policy makers of the Great Lakes struggle in getting the solution of the problem, which can result, into future risks to the ecosystem. The challenge of the Great Lakes waters management arises because nobody knows how Climate change will influence the Lakes’ ecosystem but some experts have made some future projections of the water fluctuations. The accumulation of heat-attracting gases in the atmosphere increases the temperature of the earth, causing climate change. Research shows that the water levels will rise in more than one foot in the next one hundred years. The water levels may decline by 4.5 feet, based on the scenarios used (Annin, 41). The fluctuations in the water level will be an additional to the six-foot (6 foot) variability recorded in some Lakes since the era of 1800s(Annin, 41). Research carried out by the Sousounis suggests that the Great Lakes region will record a wetter condition of 25 percent (25 %) by the 21st century and the regional temperatures may rise from 3.6 to 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (Annin, 42). The increased wet condition will result from the rise in the evaporation rates offset by the warmer world.
Reports from different authors vary in suggestions about the level of the water in the great lakes. The research on the Canadian model shows that there will be only a little change in the fluctuations of the water levels of the Great Lakes. According to this research, the Great Lakes water level will drop with 0.7 to 2.4 feet by the year 2030 and of 2 feet by the year 2090 (Annin, 44). The difference in the findings of the Canadian model and the Sousounis emphasize on the necessity of establishing policies and water management plans in an attempt to reduce the excess fluctuations of the water levels. A report of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) emphasized that the global warming has already set off in the Great Lakes region with the winters getting shorter and the average annual temperatures becoming warmer. There is a decrease in the ice covering the Lakes and an increase in the rainstorms termed by the experts as the hallmark of the rise in climate change. According to the UCS report, the winter temperatures of the Great Lakes region will be 5 to 12 degrees by the end of the 21st century, while the summer temperatures will increase by 5 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit (Annin, 45).
The current Great Lakes water conditions show fluctuations over the recent past years and their long-term averages. Study shows that there is a possibility of the long-term climate change that will result from ...
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