The results of general circulation model predictions of the effects of climate change from the Canadian Centre for Climate Modeling and Analysis (model CGCM1) and the United Kingdom Meteorological Office's Hadley Centre (model HadCM2) have been used to derive potential impacts on the water resources of the Great Lakes basin. These impacts can influence the levels of the Great Lakes and the volumes of channel flow among them, thus affecting their value for interests such as riparians, shippers, recreational boaters, and natural ecosystems. On one hand, a hydrological modeling suite using input data from the CGCM1 predicts large drops in lake levels, up to a maximum of 1.38 m on Lakes Michigan and Huron by 2090. This is due to a combination of a decrease in precipitation and an increase in air temperature that leads to an increase in evaporation. On the other hand, using input from HadCM2, rises in lake levels are predicted, up to a maximum of 0.35 m on Lakes Michigan and Huron by 2090, due to increased precipitation and a reduced increase in air temperature. An interest satisfaction model shows sharp decreases in the satisfaction of the interests of commercial navigation, recreational boating, riparians, and hydropower due to lake level decreases. Most interest satisfaction scores are also reduced by lake level increases. Drastic reductions in ice cover also result from the temperature increases such that under the CGCM1 predictions, most of Lake Erie has 96% of its winters ice-free by 2090. Assessment is also made of impacts on the groundwater-dependent region of Lansing, Michigan.
Additional publication details
Evaluation of potential impacts on Great Lakes water resources based on climate scenarios of two GCMs