What does climate change mean for the Great Lakes?

Aug 15, 2017
Originally published on August 15, 2017 10:07 am

A new report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls 2016 the warmest year on record around the globe.  The surface temperature of the Great Lakes was also above average -- and that's not good news.


Brent Lofgren, a physical scientist at NOAA, says the twice annual overturning of the Great Lakes may stop due to the warming temperature.

"When that overturning happens, that brings nutrients up from the bottom of the lake and oxygen down from the top," said Lofgren. "With warming, there’s a likelihood that in certain parts of the Great Lakes, that overturning will stop happening."  

So aquatic life that rely on those nutrients could go hungry. 

Lofgren says in 2012 and 2017, significant parts of southern Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario didn’t overturn.

According to NOAA’s 2016 State of the Climate report, eight of the last 10 years have been among the warmest years on record, globally.

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