Larson, G. and Schaetzl, R. 2001. Origin and evolution of the Great Lakes. Journal of Great Lakes Research 27: 518-546.
What was done
As indicated by the title of their article, Larson and Schaetzl review what is know about the origin and evolution of the Great Lakes of North America: Lake Superior, Lake Huron-Michigan, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. We report on their findings relative to one of the major concerns they discuss, namely, the worry that "increased evaporation under a possible greenhouse-enhanced climate, coupled with even more consumptive use of the Great Lakes waters, could lead to lower lake levels in the near future."
What was learned
From graphs of lake level fluctuations of the Great Lakes from 1915 to 1998, we note that the lowest levels of the lakes occurred at about 1926 for Lake Superior, 1962 for Lake Huron-Michigan, 1933 for Lake Erie, and 1934 for Lake Ontario. We also note that the longest sustained period of high lake levels for all of the Great Lakes occurred over the last 30 years. In addition, lake levels at the end of the record are essentially the same as those at the beginning of the record.
What it means
Climate alarmists worry - or claim they worry - that greenhouse-induced warming will dramatically lower the water levels of the Great Lakes. However, over what they claim to be the century that has exhibited the greatest warming of the entire past millennium, there has been no net change in the water level of any of the Great Lakes. In addition, over the past two decades of what they typically refer to as unprecedented warming, the four lakes have exhibited their greatest stability and highest water levels of the past century.
These observations fly in the face of all the climate alarmists' horror stories, suggesting that either the consequences they predict to follow on the heels of global warming are wrong or their global temperature history of the past millennium is wrong ... or both are wrong. Based on their poor track record in representing reality, we lean towards the latter alternative.
Reviewed 1 May 2002