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Interview with Dr. Frank Quinn

2 | Dr. Quinn's area of expertise

How long have you been working with the Great Lakes?
I've been with GLERL since it was founded in 1974, and before that I was a part of the Lake Survey District with the Army Corps of Engineers. Before I started working with the Great Lakes, I worked as a civil engineer in southern California doing hydrologic studies.

I've been working with the Great Lakes for almost 40 years -- that's a long time!

What is your main research area?
In terms of a discipline, I work in hydrology; however, my research encompasses water resources and climate change as well. In a nutshell, I'm interested in why the lake levels go up and down, what the outlooks are for future lake levels, and how we can use this knowledge to create better policies for the Great Lakes. Policies are important because they lay the groundwork for complicated issues, such as interbasin transfer of water and how the water can be better used.

Click for larger image.

How do you define hydrology?
Hydrology is the study of the water cycle. Hydrologists are interested in how water comes down in terms of precipitation and then where that water goes -- whether it is absorbed as groundwater, enters rivers and lakes as runoff, or is evaporated into the air. In GLERL's case, we use hydrology to study the Great Lakes basin, but I've also studied large lake and river systems in Kenya, Poland, Switzerland and Russia.

Listen!  Hydrocycle: What it is and why it's important (48 seconds)

Graphic: Hydrologic cycle.

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