TEACH Calendar of Events
What's going on in your neighborhood this month? Meet other people and learn together at recreational and educational events! Our new dynamic calendar is updated daily with current educational events.
3 | The changing lake levels
Why have the lake levels been so low during the past couple of years?
The main cause for the current low lake levels is lack of snow precipitation, mainly in the northern part of the basin. The region has also experienced warmer temperatures than it usually does. Temperatures in the Great Lakes basin two years ago were the warmest ever recorded. When the temperatures are high, plants require more water; so plants are using more precipitation and groundwater than usual, decreasing the amount that reaches the lakes.
Evaporation: Why the Great Lakes are unique (49 seconds)
It's interesting to hear people's reactions to the recent low lake levels. Up until a couple of years ago, the basin had seen about 30 years of high lake levels. Many people don't remember or weren't around for the last low lake level period, which was during the 1960's. Right now, people are seeing docks that lead to nowhere because the shoreline has retreated and they're seeing large beaches and rocky lake bottoms. It's an interesting time for residents and researchers alike to be studying the lakes.
Also see TEACH's module, Water Levels on the Great Lakes.
Graphic: Low lake levels on Lake Michigan.