The article, “Water Loss from the Great Lakes” co-authored by NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) researchers, Drew Gronewold and Craig Stow, has been published in the March 7 issue of Science magazine. Offering new insights into Great Lakes water level fluctuation, the Science perspective article is available on the Science magazine website (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/343/6175/1084.full). A supporting web story is posted on NOAA’s OAR Research website (http://research.noaa.gov/News/NewsArchive/LatestNews/TabId/684/ArtMID/1768/ArticleID/10466/NOAA-Seeks-Answers-to-Great-Lakes-Water-Level-Changes–.aspx).
The Great Lakes water level research, led by Gronewold and the hydrology team at NOAA GLERL, focuses on differentiating the range of drivers behind the recent record low water levels in Lake Michigan-Huron. Gronewold notes in the Science perspective article that most of the episodic changes in Great Lakes water levels over the past century closely correspond to changes in annual precipitation. However, the abrupt and sustained water level drop in the late 1990s is more closely related to increased lake surface water temperature and greater evaporation, both of which coincided with one of the strongest El Niño events on record. Strong El Niño events typically lead to abnormally mild winters and warmer surface waters in the Great Lakes.
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