Great Lakes Water Levels

April 5th, 2013 at 1:53 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Saugatuck 1 Ted Swoboda   Saugatuck 2 Ted Swoboda These pictures are courtesy of Ted Swoboda.  Check out his Big Shots for Kids website.  The pictures show how the relatively low water level of Lake Michigan is affecting the Saugatuck Channel/Kalamazoo River.  Click on the pictures to enlarge.  The water level of Lake Michigan is up 1″ in the last month.  The level is 15″ lower than one year ago and 29″ below the average water level for April.  The lake is 1″ above the lowest level ever recorded in April back in 1964 and 63″ (more than 5 feet) lower than the highest reading ever for April set in 1986.  G.R. had above average precipitation in the winter of 2011-12 and the winter of 2012-13.   The water level of Lake Superior is unchanged in the last month and 3″ below the water level of one year ago.  It’s been cold around Lake Superior and there has been virtually no snowmelt at this point.  Once that occurs, the water level of Lake Superior should go up several inches.  Lake Erie is up 1″ on the last month and Lake Ontario is up 2″ in the last month.  Both of those lakes are 11″ below the century average.  Those two lakes fluctuate much more than the other 3 Great Lakes.  Lake Erie was well above average level last spring.  I’ll say again that if you hear that the substantial loss of water in Lake Michigan/Huron is from lower than average snowfall the past 2 winters, that is not correct, since total precipitation (rain and snow) was near to above average during the two winters.  Again, if you haven’t done so, read this article about the dredging that has been done on the St. Clair River…and you should read the articles from Mark Torregrossa in MLive.     Also:  GVSU wind buoy to be located offshore of Muskegon this summerThe Badger (car ferry at Ludington) will continue in operation this summer.  Here’s a Michigan State grad. that’s done some significant research on salmon in Michigan…and head to Muskegon if you want some free sand for the sandbox or yard.

103 Responses to “Great Lakes Water Levels”

  1. big Daddy BC says:

    NOAA disagrees with your amateur hypothesis.

    “Drew Gronewold, research hydrologist with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Great Lakes environmental research laboratory said water levels have been dropping since the 1990s.

    “Water levels naturally fluctuate and have been at low levels for 10 years. But this year of extreme high water temperatures increased evaporation rapidly and that helped draw down water levels,” Gronewold said.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/30/us-transportion-water-drought-idUSBRE8AT17E20121130

    You can’t possibly think that the increased heat we’ve experienced over the last several years isn’t having an impact on water levels.

    1. Joe says:

      I’m not sure what your smoking Big Daddy but I think your arguement is favoring exactly what Bill is stating. His ‘hypothesis’ is ‘null and voided’ by FACTS. I’ve never seen an birds eye view of the shortcut I took to win a canoe race in the early 70′s. Nice shots.

      1. big Daddy BC says:

        How do you figure, Joe? Are you saying Bill’s null and voided? I don’t get it. What facts?

      2. Bill Steffen says:

        Go here: http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/lakes-michigan-huron-hit-record-low-level-dq8loc2-189903561.html It says:

        “Federal officials have long acknowledged that dredging and riverbed mining in the St. Clair dropped the long-term average of the lakes by about 16 inches. But a Great Lakes water-level study recently completed by the U.S. and Canadian governments revealed that unexpected erosion since the last major St. Clair dredging project in the early 1960s dropped the lakes’ long-term average by an additional 3 to 5 inches.

        That means the lakes today are nearly 2 feet lower than they would be if humans hadn’t meddled with the St. Clair’s riverbed.”

    2. Mark (East Lansing) says:

      Copy, paste, repeat…..

    3. Bill Steffen says:

      Look at a graph of atmospheric CO2 (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-1zcPBaqwxfw/TVj-knid-bI/AAAAAAAAASw/eEVVOKBsuLA/s1600/keeling-curve-carbon-dioxide-parts-per-million-co2-summer-uptake-by-trees-plants-soils-graph-red-line-illustration-image.jpg) – now look at a graph of Lake Michigan water level. (http://msue.anr.msu.edu/uploads/images/MI%20Sea%20Grant/Long%20term%20MI%20HURON%20levels.jpg) Not a match – not even close. The lake level rose from its lowest level in 1964 to its highest level in 1986 as CO2 was on a slow, steady climb.

      You’re link didn’t mention a lack of snow, but did mention the heat from last summer causing more evaporation. First, the lake dropped 17″ in a year. You don’t lose that much water in a year due to increased evaporation. Second, the hottest days over Lake Michigan in July were days with very little wind. On the hottest day, July 6, the average wind speed was 4.7 mph in Gr. Rapids (Holland was less than 4 mph). We had only 3 days all month when the average wind speed was more than 10 mph. On those calm days, a cooler marine layer of air will sit over the cooler water, limiting evaporation. I’ll bet we had more evaporation yesterday when it was in the 40s over the lake with dew points in the teens and a 15-20 mph wind. Side note…we often get light winds on the hottest and coldest days of the year (high pressure overhead). These are days with the greatest electricity consumption. Those wind turbines aren’t a lot of help when the wind is 4 mph.

      Next you’ll be blaming the demise of disco on carbon dioxide.

      1. big Daddy BC says:

        How many inches can you lose in a year due to evaporation? You’ve actually quantified that? Stop spouting off crap you have ZERO experience with. Put some math with it or don’t say it at all. I’m about to start calling you Dan.

        1. Bill Steffen says:

          Read this: http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/pressure-mounts-to-restore-great-lakes-water-levels-f76ug5a-170854881.html and this: http://www.mlive.com/weather/index.ssf/2012/12/lake_michigan_and_lake_huron_w.html and this: http://www.mlive.com/weather/index.ssf/2013/04/great_lakes_water_levels_a_maj.html

          “Federal officials have long acknowledged that dredging and riverbed mining in the St. Clair dropped the long-term average of the lakes by about 16 inches. But a Great Lakes water-level study recently completed by the U.S. and Canadian governments revealed that unexpected erosion since the last major St. Clair dredging project in the early 1960s dropped the lakes’ long-term average by an additional 3 to 5 inches.

          That means the lakes today are nearly 2 feet lower than they would be if humans hadn’t meddled with the St. Clair’s riverbed.” Source: http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/lakes-michigan-huron-hit-record-low-level-dq8loc2-189903561.html

    4. GunLakeDeb says:

      ROFLMAO!!

      This is from the article that Bill linked to:
      “It is a study that has been plagued by controversy from the start, including the fact that it was co-chaired by an employee of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which many view as a source of the problem because it has a history of dredging in the St. Clair River to open Lakes Michigan and Huron to deep-draft navigation.”

      So if *I* was from the Corps of Engineers and was potentially responsible for draining the Lakes – here’s what *I* would blame:
      (from BDBC’s article)
      “There is a good chance of setting record lows. We’ve been falling below average for over a decade due to lean winter snowfalls,” said Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology for the Army Corps of Engineers.”

      If I remember correctly – this has been a pretty darn snowy decade?

      1. Bill Steffen says:

        Yes, the decade of the 2000s was the snowiest decade ever in G.R. And, while I’m at it, here’s Northern Hemisphere snow cover, showing the uptick in the 2000s: http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/2008/jan2008snow.gif

        1. Brad (Lawrence) says:

          I’m curious Bill, could you dig up some data on snowfall for the 10 years leading up to 1986. I believe this is when the lake was at it’s highest? I’m just curious as to what that data shows in comparison to the last 10 years snowfall.

        2. Bill Steffen says:

          Snowfall in the winter of 1985-86 was 79.1″ in G.R. – above average. However, the big story was heavy rain. Grand Rapids had 11.85″ of rain in Sept. 1986 and a few spots from N. Kent County into Newaygo Co. had close to 20″ – including 8″ in one night. Rainfall was well above average in June (7.14″), July (5.27″), August (5.30″). Rainfall in calendar year 1986 was 13.5″ above average! In the year before (1985), we had 40.9″ of precipitation and that was 6.87″ above average.

        3. Bill Steffen says:

          Your link is to a rather obscure internet environmental newsletter. The article doesn’t mention CO2 or greenhouse gases. It does claim that the Chicago River is 70% raw sewage. I hardly think that’s correct…downtown Chicago would be a pretty stinky place. The water level of Lake Michigan not at an all-time low right now. It’s a couple inches above the water level of 1964, when the river did not reverse itself. Also, the article laments the drought in Illinois and suggests that’s connected to the water level of Lake Michigan. Only a tiny percentage of land in NE Illinois drains into Lake Michigan. See here: https://wiki.epa.gov/watershed2/images/d/d6/LakeMichigan8digit.jpg Illinois drains into the Mississippi River.

      2. big Daddy BC says:

        I wouldn’t roll around on the floor too much, Deb. We are in a drought despite the rosy picture you get here on good old Bill’s blog.

        1. Bill Steffen says:

          “We” are not in a drought. Precipitation has been above average this winter. Grand Rapids is +1.13″ since 1/1. We were also above average for precipitation in the winter of 2011-12. Much of northern and eastern Texas is above average for rainfall so far this year. A major snowstorm will provide much-needed moisture in a large band from Colorado-Wyoming to Upper Michigan.

        2. GunLakeDeb says:

          Sorry BDBC – I’m a kayaker and study hydrology reports. We’re just fine – no drought.

        3. big Daddy BC says:

          As you’ll recall, Bill, I bet you we’d get above average precip. You wouldn’t say. What you did say was that temps would be below average. I said above and won again. You don’t have to inform me. As far as the ongoing drought of 2010 goes, here’s what the US Drought Monitor says: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/DM_state.htm?MI,MW

          Hmm.

          Deb, I’m sure you’re a real athlete.

        4. Bill Steffen says:

          Please, do go to bigDaddy’s link: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/DM_state.htm?MI,MW It’s the drought monitor for Michigan. The vast majority of the state is NOT in any kind of moisture deficiency and the small part that is will probably get wiped out this week!

          You seriously thought that link would help your climate fear-mongering cause?

        5. big Daddy BC says:

          You’re missing the point, Magoo. The spring thaw has just barely pulled us out of a three year drought. More than half the country is still in it. We’re in the Great Lakes State. When it doesn’t rain here for more than half the summer, it’s going to have an effect on the water table and lake levels. When season after season is hotter than it should be, when ice doesn’t form on the lake, when winter doesn’t start until late January, it HAS AN EFFECT. Use that spongy grey thing in your skull for a change.

          I read yesterday that 10% of the trees in Texas have died as a result of this drought. If that doesn’t underscore the importance of getting this under control for you, nothing will.

        6. Bill Steffen says:

          Here’s the bottom line on the Texas drought from Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, the STATE CLIMATOLOGIST of Texas: “There is no evidence that climate change contributed to the lack of rainfall, because rainfall has risen over the past century in the state.” (source here: http://texasclimatenews.org/wp/?p=5113)

          Winter precipitation was ABOVE AVERAGE in G.R. in the winter of 2011-12 AND in the winter of 2012-13. Since Jan. 1, Grand Rapids is 1.5″ ABOVE AVERAGE in precipitation and we’re going to double that number this week.

  2. Travis Ulberg (West of Martin, Allegan County) says:

    Anyone ever heard of something like this? It’s a neat idea, I just think the deadline should be about April 15th just for more of a guessing factor. This is via Grand Marais, MI Facebook page….

    GRAND MARAIS SNO-BE-GONE CONTEST

    Pick the day that the snow mountain disappears (as seen in the new webcam). *Tim Swift is not eligible!!!
    $1 per day….pick as many days as you want.
    All names that picked the winning day will be put in a hat and one winner drawn.
    Winner receives ½ the proceeds generated with the other half to be donated to one of the following GM organizations of their choice:
    GM Chamber of Commerce
    GM Womens Club
    GM Historical Society
    GM Sno Trails

    Send your dates to:
    GM Chamber of Commerce PO Box 139, Grand Marais MI 49839

    Please include your name and a phone number.
    Make checks out to the GM Chamber of Commerce

    Deadline for receiving entries is May 15th, 2013

    1. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

      Now I know why they were adding snow to the pile the other day and one can assume they are not expecting the snow pile to melt before May 15
      SlimJim

  3. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

    While it was nice and sunny today it was cold at 5/3 Ballpark today! The Whitecaps did win today so they are now 2-0 for 2013.
    This is from an earlier entry and while nothing to do with the Great Lakes water level it just something for a slow weather day LOL

    Travis (Oakland County) says:
    April 5, 2013 at 9:04 am
    Poor Jacob Turner. The Whitecaps marketed him like he was the next Verlander. Gets the call up to the pros, and doesn’t do very well. Gets traded. And now he didn’t even make the opening day roster and is back in the minors.
    It’s been a while since the Whitecaps were able to produce some big talent for the Tigers

    While it can be debated as to what is “big” talent here are just some of the 100 former West Michigan Whitecaps that have made it to the major league level.

    Alex Avila 2008 Detroit 8/6/09
    Francisco Cordero 1997 Detroit 8/2/99
    Avisail Garcia 2009, 10 Detroit 8/31/12
    Omar Infante 2000 Detroit 9/7/02
    Matt Joyce 2006 Detroit 5/5/08
    Jair Jurrjens 2005 Detroit 8/15/07
    Ramon Santiago 2000 Detroit 5/17/02
    Brayan Villarreal 2008, 09 Detroit 4/2/11
    Fernando Rodney 2000 Detroit 5/4/02

    It should be noted the players that come to West Michigan are sent here by the Tigers.
    Here is the whole list
    http://www.milb.com/content/page.jsp?ymd=20090211&content_id=40998072&sid=t582&vkey=roster

    SlimJim

    1. Travis (Oakland County) says:

      Yep, like 5-10 years ago was their peak.

      Boesch, Joyce, Avila, Jurrjens, Don Kelly, Raburn, Clete Thomas, Zumaya

      Outside of the Jacob Turner bust, there has been slim pickins for the Tigers the past few years coming out of the Whitecaps.

      I think it more has to do with the fact that the Tigers farmclub has been decimated lately as management keeps trading away minor league talent for current big leaguers.

      You guys wouldn’t happen to have any closing pitchers the Tigers could use would ya? ;)

  4. Rocky (Rockford) says:

    I love it!!!!!

  5. Rocky (Rockford) says:

    Fox 17 weather is a JOKE!

    1. Stephen (North Muskegon says:

      So are your comments. Whats your point?

  6. Nathan says:

    Is the entire eight day forecast has changed!!

  7. big Daddy BC says:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57577101/great-lakes-drought-has-ripple-effect-on-auto-industry/

    “The persistent drought has produced some of the lowest levels ever recorded in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. And as a consequence, the big ships that carry iron ore to mills around the lakes are now being forced to lighten their loads – or risk running aground.

    “When she came down with her cargo here – the last cargo in January – she was at the 25 mark. If she had been loaded to her full mark, she would have been up just an inch short of 28 feet,” said

    Glen Nekvasil / CBS News , vice president at the Lake Carriers Association – a trade group that represents shippers.
    Last month CBS News went aboard the Stewart J. Cort in the Port of Milwaukee. As long as an aircraft carrier, the ship can carry 65,000 tons of ore.

    “When this ship loaded its last cargo of the season, it had only 55,000 tons on board,” Nekvasil said.

    If a ship is 10,000 tons of ore short, “that means a steel mill didn’t make about 6,700 tons of steel and that could have been turned into 8,400 cars. And 8,400 cars would keep a large auto plant working for 15 days,” he explained. “And you have to remember that’s on just one trip. These ships will make 45 to 50 trips during a season.”

    Precipitation in February and March over the Michigan and Huron basin has been close to average, and the levels are now about two inches higher than they were in January, when the record lows were reached.

    But that’s still about 26 inches – more than two feet – lower than where the lakes usually are.

    And the mild winter temperatures didn’t help. There was little ice cover over the water this year, allowing evaporation to drain even more moisture from the lakes.”

    Sorry to piss off so many already angry repubs, but this constant corporate swing is tiring. Fact is, and this shouldn’t come too big a surprise, that when you heat the air, you increase evaporation. Last July was the hottest month in history for the northern hemisphere. This came after a record hot spring and was followed by a record hot fall. Dredging does play a part, but to ignore months of extreme heat smells of political bias. The corporate slant is revolting. Read the CBS piece above. Michigan’s going to have to pick up the bill-again. Wow, who say’s climate change isn’t expensive!?

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      Nothing in the article at your link hints that CO2 in the atmosphere plays any part in the loss or gain of water in Lake Michigan.

      The water level was LOWER in April 1964 than it is now – then the level rose to a record HIGH level in 1986-87 – again suggesting that CO2, which has been rising slowly at a constant rate is not involved.

      Just because you heat the water (and Lake Michigan was warmer in the summers of 1980 and 1988 – we had average temperatures in the Lake Michigan/Huron basin in August 2012), doesn’t mean you get higher evaporation rates. As I said…you can get more evaporation on a windy fall or spring day with sunshine and a large temperature/dew point spread than you can on a warm, cloudy, calm, summer day with high relative humidities in the layer of air above the water. It’s simple physics.

      Side note: A runner may choose to run in the evening when the temperature is warmer, but there is a breeze and the relative humidity is lower…instead of in the early morning, when the temperature may be cooler, but the wind is calm and the relative humidity is +90% with the dew point and temperature virtually the same. Sweat is more easily evaporated off the skin in the evening with evaporative cooling more beneficial to the runner in the evening than in the morning.

      The Texas drought is/was NOT caused by CO2 in the atmosphere. The State Climatologist of Texas says: “There is no evidence that climate change contributed to the lack of rainfall, because rainfall has risen over the past century in the state.” A large portion of Texas shows a precipitation surplus for the year (Dallas, Fort Worth, Amarillo, Galveston, Beaumont, Austin, Waco, Childress).

      Global temperatures have been steady for 10 years: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/Fig.C.gif

      1. Robert (Plainwell) says:

        Hey Bill look at this. I would ask bDBC to read it, but why waste my time with that.

        http://blog.nj.com/njv_paul_mulshine/2013/04/climatologists_are_no_einstein.html

        1. Bill Steffen says:

          Good article, Robert. Here’s another… “Britain suffering from prolonged cold”: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22050874

      2. Blue Moon says:

        I favor dredging and evaporation with dredging being the dominant factor. Could it be that the excessive water levels in the 80′s created more flow in the St Clair river accelerating the erosion?

      3. big Daddy BC says:

        I didn’t make any claims about CO2 with that link or the other. What I’m showing is that actual experts think the drought is more than partly responsible for the shrinking Michigan water table. It would be nice if it were as simple as what you claim, but alas, it isn’t. And we aren’t talking about a few hot July vs some windy October days. We’re talking about extreme heat that started years ago and hasn’t stopped yet. We’re talking about record hot seasons and less ice in the winter. We’re talking about hotter air that can absorb more moisture from a lake with hotter surface temps. You can cherry pic a few temps from the ’80s, but you must put everything else in place. Climate change has caused a convergence of environmental effects that has led to this.

        Read on: “A 2002 National Geographic magazine story, Down the Drain: The Incredible Shrinking Great Lakes, documents declining lake levels and the potential economic and ecological consequences for the region. Ten years later, the story continues to unfold, as water levels remain lower than normal.”

        http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/11/20/climate-change-and-variability-drive-low-water-levels-on-the-great-lakes/

        1. Bill Steffen says:

          And I have showed you that precipitation has been above average this winter in the Lake Michigan basin. If Lake Michigan is dropping, precipitation is above average, river levels are average and evaporation is average (it’s been a cloudy winter), you have to look for other causes. The lack of snow last winter cannot be a factor since overall precipitation was above normal. Above normal evaporation (if you could prove that beyond a doubt) could not possibly account for a drop of 17″ in a year. Also, none of the other lakes have shown that kind of a drop…only Michigan/Huron. It was hot in the early 1980s (record water temperatures in Lake Michigan, above 80 degrees and overall warmer than this past summer) and the incredibly warm winter of 1982-83…and yet the water level of Lake Michigan rose during that period.

          Your link talks about the falling lake levels…but it doesn’t blame C02. It’s tangential. Everyone knows the water level is dropping. Two engineering studies have blamed dredging the St. Clair River and even the Army Corps of Engineers stated that was the case!

          Read this article: http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/pressure-mounts-to-restore-great-lakes-water-levels-f76ug5a-170854881.html It says: “A Canadian conservation group created by property owners from northern Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay hired its own engineering firm to conduct a study of what was going on in the St. Clair River back in 2004. That study said the water lost from the lakes by expanding the river channel was actually much greater than 16 inches – and getting worse.

          The engineering firm concluded that an Army Corps dredging project completed in the early 1960s had exposed the riverbed to severe – and ongoing – erosion that helped trigger a massive and increasing water loss from Michigan and Huron. The problem was compounded by the fact that shoreline hardening in Lake Huron with structures like docks and retaining walls stopped the natural flow of sand and silt into the St. Clair to fill in the river bottom. The Georgian Bay group likened the problem to an ever-expanding drain on a bathtub. Others called it a hole in the bottom of the lakes.”

          And the second engineering study:

          “the Joint Commission instructed a team of scientists in 2007 to focus on the St. Clair as part of a larger study of water levels on Lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior. Working under orders to get that work done fast, this “study board” responded in 2009 that unexpected erosion had indeed occurred since the 1960s dredging but that it was not ongoing and had led to an additional water loss of only about 3 to 5 inches from the lakes. Because of the previously acknowledged 16-inch loss tied to earlier dredging, that means if you walk down to the shore of Lake Michigan today the water is about 20 inches lower than it would otherwise be, according to that study.”

          The scientists and engineers who have studied this issue point to dedging as a primary cause of the drop in the water level of Lake Michigan/Huron. They did not mention drought or climate change.

        2. big Daddy BC says:

          I saw that article the first fifteen times you posted it and already acknowledged that dredging is having an effect on water levels. But, AGAIN, dredging alone is not going to be the scape goat here. The scientists agree. Sorry, but a warming atmosphere, less ice, and shorter winters, are ALL to blame, not to mention the drought we’ve been in since 2010. Wake up and smell the dried up lake bed. Here’s what they’re saying in Chicago:

          “The state of Michigan has an advertising campaign, “Pure Michigan,” that highlights the state’s many natural attractions. The skiing! The parks! The beautiful Great Lakes!
          The beautiful, non-potable Chicago River. I’m curious how they’ll rebrand the effort once those Great Lakes become home to raw sewage from Chicago.”

          READ ON: http://grist.org/news/the-ongoing-drought-may-reverse-the-flow-of-the-chicago-river/

          “Drew Gronewold, research hydrologist with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Great Lakes environmental research laboratory said water levels have been dropping since the 1990s.

          “Water levels naturally fluctuate and have been at low levels for 10 years. But this year of extreme high water temperatures increased evaporation rapidly and that helped draw down water levels,” Gronewold said.

        3. Bill Steffen says:

          1) The scientists agree that dredging is the major factor…that’s two independent engineering studies and the admission of the 16-20″ drop from the Army Corps of Engineers.

          2) The atmosphere is NOT WARMING! Global temperatures have been steady for the past +10 years!

          http://www.woodfortrees.org/graph/hadsst2gl/from:1997/scale:0.5/offset:-0.2/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1997.1/trend/scale:0.5/offset:-0.2/plot/esrl-co2/from:1997/normalise/scale:0.5/offset:0.2/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1997/scale:0.5/offset:-0.2/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2000.8/trend/scale:0.5/offset:-0.2/plot/gistemp/from:1997/scale:0.5/offset:-0.2/plot/gistemp/from:2001.33/trend/scale:0.5/offset:-0.2 (blue line is CO2 – the rest of the lines are the different global temperature data sets and they are all flat for the past 10 years.

          3) Shorter winters? Ask fixxxer if this is turning out to be a shorter winter! The U.S. has been cold, Russia has been colder than average and the cold in Europe just won’t go away! Paris has been colder than average every day since 3/10 and London since 3/17: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22050874

          4) Look at the U.S. temperature anomaly map for 1/1 to today: http://stevengoddard.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/screenhunter_71-apr-06-06-45.jpg It’s been a pretty chilly start to 2013. Honestly people, look at the graph…does that look like we’re have a warming crisis?

          5) NONE of your links mentions CO2 in the atmosphere as a cause of the falling lake-level. Precipitation has been near to actually above average and if evaporation is that big a deal, we’d see the same effect on the other Great Lakes and the bigger inland lakes.

        4. big Daddy BC says:

          http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57577101/great-lakes-drought-has-ripple-effect-on-auto-industry/

          Now this drought is going to start costing us jobs. Who says climate change isn’t expensive!?

        5. Bill Steffen says:

          Nothing you have said or linked provides any credible connection to carbon dioxide (BTW, CO2 emissions in the U.S. are FALLING, not rising: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2012/08/in-a-surprise-co2-emissions-hit-20-year-low/1#.UWOPmDfou3M) Read this and read about the engineering studies that link the falling lake level of Lake Michigan/Huron to dredging of the St. Clair River: http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/pressure-mounts-to-restore-great-lakes-water-levels-f76ug5a-170854881.html

          And read this: http://www.mlive.com/weather/index.ssf/2012/12/lake_michigan_and_lake_huron_w.html and http://www.mlive.com/weather/index.ssf/2013/04/great_lakes_water_levels_a_maj.html

        6. Robert (Plainwell) says:

          Please bdbc you never post anything credible. I think it is interesting since you can’t win with the facts Bill and I give you always revert to name calling. It just shows how little you really are. You post a link how we are in a drought and it shows were not. Good job, also if you knew anything you would realize the drought the US was in was caused by the many consecutive La Nina’s we had.

          Oh Bill but as your intern i wanted in to. LOL.

          The drought in 1934 was worse than the one we are coming out of.

          http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/1934-80-of-the-us-affected-by-drought/

          Look at the link bdbc and click it so you can learn something.

    2. Robert (Plainwell) says:

      Hey bDBC look at the records highs by stations continuously active for 90 years. Where’s the heat?

      http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/joe-romm-takes-climate-fraud-to-infininity/

      1. big Daddy BC says:

        Please use credible science sources. Blogs and political sites cannot be counted as evidence of anything other than your stupidity.

        1. Robert (Plainwell) says:

          Oh bDBC you didn’t even look at it. You just like to spout off on links from organizations that get paid from the government. Maybe they are not truthful in everything they report. Why don’t you just move on from Bill’s blog and go back to the bridge you crawled out from underneath, and let these people talk about the weather.

          It is nice hearing from all these regular people on this blog talk about weather, but it is a shame that you think you are making a difference. All you and the like spouting off about climate change and it doesn’t come true actually helps educate people realize the lies coming from the warmists.

        2. Bill Steffen says:

          You can’t disprove the data, bigD – so you resort to name-calling and political insults. The data is available on the web. Go crunch the numbers yourself.

          It’s not heat, but cold that’s a problem now. This is from he BBC today: “NFU president Peter Kendall said more than two million tonnes of wheat had been lost because of last year’s poor summer.

          The prolonged cold weather would also hit this autumn’s harvest, he said.”

          London has had below average temperatures every day since March 17 and Paris every day since March 10th.

          Read the whole article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22050874

        3. big Daddy BC says:

          OOooo, two cold weeks in Europe! Wow, after 337 consecutive months with above average temperatures worldwide, Europe gets two cold WEEKS! LOL What will they do????

          Pathetic

          And no, Robert, I don’t read politically derived advisements on climate. I prefer my science to be scientific. Find something that ISN’T linked by Bill Steffen, Rush Limbaugh, or FOX News if you want to have a serious conversation.

        4. Robert (Plainwell) says:

          Record ice in the Baltic.

          http://www.thelocal.se/47154/20130405/#.UWD1y8u9KK1

        5. Bill Steffen says:

          BigDaddy links to an obscure climate hyping internet newspaper from Seattle..and he knocks my sources?

          Try NASA: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/Fig.C.gif

          The National Snow and Ice Data Center: http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/files/2013/02/Figure41.png

          Snowcover analysis from Florida State and Dr. Bob Hart: http://moe.met.fsu.edu/snow/

          And this little gem from James Hansen: “The five-year mean global temperature has been flat for the last decade…” – James Hansen et al. (From Climate, Etc – which is Dr. Judith Curry’s blog)

          And it’s not “a couple of cold weeks”, it’s five winters in a row: http://notrickszone.com/2013/04/03/east-german-march-2013-coldest-in-130-years-dramatic-temperature-deviations-all-the-way-to-siberia/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter and http://notrickszone.com/2013/02/17/meteorologist-dominik-jung-turns-skeptical-after-germany-sets-record-5-consecutive-colder-than-normal-winters/

        6. big Daddy BC says:

          Was it you or Robert I was knocking. It was Robert, so why are you saying it was you. OR are you and Robert the same person? It’s funny how you always get some dumber than average side-kick to give you support during these exchanges, but they never last too long. I’d being willing to bet that these are either interns posting or you. Hilarious.

        7. Bill Steffen says:

          You’re bet’s on!!! How about $100 – winner keeps his money, loser has to pay the $100 to the Red Cross. I say no interns. Watcha say?

        8. Robert (Plainwell) says:

          Please bdbc you never post anything credible. I think it is interesting since you can’t win with the facts Bill and I give you always revert to name calling. It just shows how little you really are. You post a link how we are in a drought and it shows were not. Good job, also if you knew anything you would realize the drought the US was in was caused by the many consecutive La Nina’s we had.

          Oh Bill but as your intern i wanted in to. LOL.

  8. INDY says:

    Hey BIG daddy Repubs don’t care about our great lakes !!!! They only care about war drugs and oil = cash …..U know that ….IN DYY…

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      Indy – Why would you say that Republicans don’t care about the Great Lakes?

      The article at my link states: “The engineering firm concluded that an Army Corps dredging project completed in the early 1960s had exposed the riverbed to severe – and ongoing – erosion that helped trigger a massive and increasing water loss from Michigan and Huron (in the past several years).” Kennedy was President in the early 1960s and the dredging was a Federal project. I certainly don’t think Kennedy had anything to do with it…or that the Army Corps thought at the time that the dredging would have the effect of dropping the lake-level like that. Oh, and speaking of John Kennedy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEdXrfIMdiU

    2. big Daddy BC says:

      Don’t let the Steffen back you down, INDY. Careful though, trashing repubs on here could get you ostracized. The teabag bully squad doesn’t tolerate opinions not given to them by FOX NEWS.

      1. Bill Steffen says:

        LOL – I’ve tolerated you! Even though you’re intolerant of others and interrupt to spread your climate profiteer’s nonsense. I know you’re getting desperate. Global temperatures aren’t warming:

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/graph/hadsst2gl/from:1997/scale:0.5/offset:-0.2/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1997.1/trend/scale:0.5/offset:-0.2/plot/esrl-co2/from:1997/normalise/scale:0.5/offset:0.2/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1997/scale:0.5/offset:-0.2/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2000.8/trend/scale:0.5/offset:-0.2/plot/gistemp/from:1997/scale:0.5/offset:-0.2/plot/gistemp/from:2001.33/trend/scale:0.5/offset:-0.2

        Remember the famous Climategate email from Trenberth: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

        They keep looking…keep trying to fudge things to keep that grant $$$ coming in and keep those taxes high on the middle class to pay for all the climate profiteers boondoggles: http://nation.foxnews.com/obama/2012/10/20/list-36-obama-s-taxpayer-funded-green-energy-failures Fisker is just the latest: http://money.cnn.com/2013/04/05/autos/fisker-lay-offs/ Set up the company, grab the money, go bankrupt, rinse and repeat.

      2. big Daddy BC says:

        I wish I was profiting from efforts to reign in big businesses rape of the environment, but alas I just volunteer where I can. It’s hard to fight the billionaire elite when you’re getting taxed to death by them.

        http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130219/OPINION01/302190318

      3. big Daddy BC says:

        http://www.ted.com/talks/james_hansen_why_i_must_speak_out_about_climate_change.html

        Let’s have a look at what Mr. Hansen really has to say.

      4. Bill Steffen says:

        That TED link is to Feb. 2012 and who knows how much before that it was actually taped. This is Hansen in 2013:

        The five-year mean global temperature has been flat for the last decade… – James Hansen et al.

        And you’ve really got to tell your buddy, Ted that he’s got to stop using the picture of Al Gore to start his videos. Even liberals are mad at Gore for selling out to Big Oil: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/08/current-staffers-al-gore-al-jazeera_n_2432512.html

  9. INDY says:

    Bill the repubs do care about the great lks most do, Sorry I should of said it a little different what I ment to say is lots of our goverments all they care about is drugs oil war and lots more what brings in thee cash and the all dash!!! I Just watched a show about the Michigan fab 5 in 1992 a few of the took some money and broke NCCA rules from a Michigan alumni to this day all the banners they had as one our still locked away and the 10 year away from Michigan is up this year players, coaches can come back now from that team and this years team is in the final 4 I find that intresting!!! All becouse of money greed !!! Look what our goverment is we can’t trust them!!!! INDYY..

    1. big Daddy BC says:

      INDY, your confusion is justifiable. It’s probably the use of the term ‘conservative.’ It doesn’t mean what it used to. Fact is, the right wing has stolen the party. The repubs don’t conserve much anymore. The most current incarnation of this party is anti-environment, anti-labor, anti-elderly, anti-poor, anti-immigrant, and anti-science. It wasn’t always that way. But today, they don’t believe in sustainability because it interferes with their quarterly goals. Snyder has raised taxes on the middle class several times now and will continue with a nineteen cent gas tax, services tax, and registration tax -if he’s allowed. He’s passes the savings on to his corporate friends. So no, INDY, our politicians don’t give a hoot about the health of our great lakes unless it makes them money. They’re the frackers dumping undisclosed chemicals into our water table. They’re the pipeline that erupted more than a million gallons of crude into the Kalamazoo River. They’re the party of environmental deregulation. Sad but true.

      1. Bill Steffen says:

        Conservatives conserve. I’d love to compare my “carbon footprint” to yours. You guys are the ones wasting money left and right: http://nation.foxnews.com/obama/2012/10/20/list-36-obama-s-taxpayer-funded-green-energy-failures and selling out to Big Oil: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/08/current-staffers-al-gore-al-jazeera_n_2432512.html

        The Republicans have nominated John McCain and Mitt Romney in the last 2 elections – hardly the “right wing” of the party. Obama is certainly from the left wing of the Democratic Party. He’s certainly well left of Bill Clinton, who had a much better economy and a balanced budget for 3 years. Obama couldn’t even vote to save babies that survived an abortion…that’s hardly mainstream.

        I’d love to see you try and live without oil, bigD. You’re a hypocrite if you don’t. I’m for reasonably priced utility rates and I certainly don’t favor your “European level” gasoline prices. Build the Keystone Pipeline! It’ll bring the U.S. thousands of good-paying jobs and won’t affect global temperature.

      2. big Daddy BC says:

        They nominated two stooges. No republican could win after what GWB did to the nation. Who are you kidding. As far as Obama goes, just because he’s black doesn’t mean he’s left wing. Nice try. In fact the dems are all over him right now for cutting medicare and social security benefits. …Not exactly a left-wing thing to do. What’s funny is your constant scare tactics. Dems don’t want European gas prices. We want lower prices, which mean reigning in Exxon, Goldman Sachs, and the rest of the evil empire. It’s your man, Governor Snyder, who’s trying to pass yet another tax onto the middle class with a proposed nineteen cent per gallon tax to cover road repair. I guess he can’t afford to fix the roads because he’s giving half the budget away to corporations and billionaires in tax breaks and giveaways. Pathetic.

        http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130219/OPINION01/302190318

      3. Bill Steffen says:

        It’s a shame you leftists don’t support the poor and middle class anymore. You want the poor and middle class to pay “skyrocketing” utility bills: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNSZ62xiD4M and $9 a gallon “European level” ($9 a gallon) gasoline prices: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122904040307499791.html (Chu doesn’t own a car – he gets chauffeured around!)

        Speaking of African-Americans, here’s one that was attacked by union thugs in Lansing. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/12/12/union-thugs-destroy-hot-dog-stand-of-alleged-romney-supporter-in-lansing-and-taunt-him-with-racial-slurs/ Shameful. Why does your union do this?

        1. big Daddy BC says:

          What the heck did that post even mean? It was cut and pasted by an intern for sure. It had ZERO to do with our discussion. I love that you’re pretending to like African American people now. After months of trying to sell us on the racist Emergency Manager Law, you’re now a friend to minorities. ;) Please.

        2. Bill Steffen says:

          Do you think minorities want “skyrocketing” utility rates and $9 a gallon gasoline?

          Multiple polls shows that African-Americans are the strongest supporters of charter schools.

          A July poll of 528 registered voters in swing-state North Carolina showed that 70 percent of state residents — and 85 percent of African-Americans — support charter schools. The poll was conducted by the Center for Education Reform.

          A November 2011 poll in liberal California showed that 52 percent of registered voters had a favorable view of charter schools. “African American respondents expressed the most support for charter schools,” said a Los Angeles Times article about the poll of 1,057 registered voters, which was conducted by a Democratic polling firm, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.

  10. LukeK says:

    The comment sections should be moderated.
    So tired of the people that get on here complaining about what bill says.

    If you don’t like the information you get from Bill then go watch
    WWMT and bother them.

    Or if you think you can do a better job and that everyone needs to hear what
    you have to say go apply for his job. Which I’m sure you would never get…
    Which is why you come to Bill’s blog to try to get attention…
    Because no one wants to hear your bullsh*t

    1. big Daddy BC says:

      Interesting use of terminology. You sound like an employee.

      Fact is, Bill’s offering novice opinions on here, not expert advice, and certainly not fact. I refuse to be led up the garden path by a weatherman with a corporate agenda. Don’t forget that he’s being paid very, very well to say what he says.

      1. Bill Steffen says:

        No one controls what I say on the blog. I don’t get any extra $$ for doing the blog. This is free speech. They can read what I write, or not. They can agree with me, or not. I’ve presented literally hundreds of links to back up what I write. I take the time to read your links. You have offered no credentials. You are on the far fringe of political and environmental opinion.

        The Keystone Pipeline would created thousands of UNION jobs: “Four union presidents, representing 2.6 million workers, sent a letter in October to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging approval for the project.” (http://www.pipeline-news.com/feature/union-support-keystone-xl-pipeline-project)

      2. big Daddy BC says:

        Few of your links are credible. Even fewer support your corporate agenda. What professional scientific organization shares your views? There isn’t one. That’s why you try to discredit rather than support. That’s why you attack me personally, rather than address the issues. What difference does it make who I am? What I do for a living? How much education I have? No one else on here posts credentials. I wouldn’t believe them if they did. In fact a year or so ago I seem to remember you posting a self admitted democrat’s email address in retaliation for their posting something you didn’t like.

        How about a frank discussion on the merits of climate denierism? Who it serves? Who it hurts? SHOW ME THE SCIENCE and not ‘data’ from blogs, rhetoric, and anecdote. Give us data to support your claims that all this climate change stuff is just natural variation. Watcha got?

        “Data confirms these three factors:

        Antarctica is warming
        Antarctic sea ice extent is increasing
        Antarctic land Ice mass is decreasing
        A warmer world seems to translate to more snow but faster loss of that snow in the spring/summer months.

        The Arctic, in the Northern Hemisphere (NH) acts in the opposite direction regarding ice extent, and is also losing ice mass. The main reason that the NH is not gaining ice extent like Antarctica is the Northern or Polar Amplification Effect. This is due to the fact that the NH is mostly land, while the SH is mostly water and ice. So the two hemispheres behave quite differently.”

        http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/antarctic-ice-melt

        1. Robert (Plainwell) says:

          Antarctica warming? I thought your links were bullet proof? Must be someone is wrong or they didn’t talk and get there facts straight.

          http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003100/a003188/

        2. Robert (Plainwell) says:

          OK let me get this straight, a warming earth means more sea ice in the SH but less in the NH. Wow unbelieveable how stupid these people think we are. If the melting ice causes more sea ice in the SH, not in the NH maybe it is the PDO and the AMO warm phases. It also seems that the western part of Arctic sea ice is expanding again as the PDO has gone to its cool phase.

          http://www.firstpost.com/world/global-warming-means-seas-freeze-more-off-antarctica-study-680383.html

          http://www.thelocal.se/47154/20130405/#.UWD9YMu9KK2

        3. big Daddy BC says:

          Robert is your other name Paul or Dan? You seem to know just enough to confuse yourself.

          BIll, love that list of nothing links. Hilarious. You continue to demonstrate how biased your opinion is.

        4. Bill Steffen says:

          NASA says global air temperatures have been steady for the last decade: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/Fig.C.gif

          Nasa says global sea-surface temperatures have actually gone down a touch in the last decade: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2008/Fig2b.gif

        5. Robert (Plainwell) says:

          bDBC when I believed in AGW I was just like you, but look at all the info that shows it is just not true. I actually feel sorry for you that you have to behave the way you do when Bill or I prove you wrong time and time again. Face the truth and become happy with your life.

  11. Skot says:

    What happened to the 70 temp?

    1. Brian(Grandvile) says:

      We’re gonna try for that next month I guess. The weather just keeps on doing what it wants. Strange.

      1. fixxxer says:

        I thought you wanted cooler weather brian.

    2. Jack says:

      Yeah Skot, I noticed That as Well ( it disappeared) . And I Thought ain’t That a BITCH: jwww.youtube.com/watch?v=3N0A2b7nbdM. ;-)

  12. fixxxer says:

    Yeah the rest of the month while not super cold doesnt look very good. This may be one of those years where we dont get real warm until june or so. Back to a crap typical west michigan pattern.

    1. Jack says:

      Warm, in June 4 the Orion Fest. Aye Fixxxer ( mister front Row). Enjoy…. ;-)

      1. fixxxer says:

        considering it’s in detroit, im not overly concerned about the weather. then again if it’s raining that might suck a bit.

    2. Irish coffee says:

      fixxx- we’ll hit 80+ before 4-20, if NOT i’ll buy you lunch!

      1. Rocky (Rockford) says:

        There is a .0000000000000000000000000000001 percent chance of that happening. Still living in warm weather fantasy land I see! I am off to SNOW country for some FANTASTIC SKIING!! Enjoy living in your dreamland!

        1. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

          I do think the chances are that low but I do not see 80+ I do not see 70+ either and we will be lucky if we can get 65+ before 4/20
          SlimJim

        2. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

          that should have been not that low lol
          SlimJim

      2. SlimJim NW GR (1) says:

        I do not see that happening this year so I hope fix brings all of his kids for lunch!!!
        SlimJim

        1. fixxxer says:

          well slim if we don’t start warming up by may then i may get a bit worried. then again it wouldn’t be the first time we had a colder spring around here. usually the summer turns out alright eventually. sadly it’s the shortest season we have here.

        2. Irish coffee says:

          WOW! such confidence…..Benton Harbor hit UPPER 60′s today w/ 850′s only in SINGLE digits!…COLD-biased GFS has near +~14(@850) circa 4-18 and you guys talk like even 70 is out of reach! lol

  13. Resourceful Nana says:

    I have finally taken the time to read the link about the dredging of the St. Clair River. It refers frequently to the changes in the level of the lakes. It suggests that the levels of Lakes Michigan and Huron have reached record lows because of the dredging but it doesn’t put any real numbers to it. It doesn’t say what years the dredging took place, it doesn’t say how much more water flows out. The only statistic I could find explained that when the Chicago River was reversed in 1900 so that the water flowed out of L. Mich. instead of into it, it caused a drop of 2 inches (long-term average) by siphoning about 2.1 billion gallons per day into the Mississippi River Basin. So, even though this is way too simplistic–it’s all I have to go on here; A 16 inch drop is 8 times more than what is siphoned by the Chicago River, eight times more water would be 16.8 billion gallons of water per day! As I said a few weeks ago, I need more data to understand how that much more water can be moving through St. Clair, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, etc. It seem to me there has to be more going on.
    Also, Bill keeps saying that more water evaporates on a windy spring day like today than likely did last summer during the heat. I think that needs to be explored further–(someone must have actual numbers for it). I understand perfectly that dry air will absorb more moisture than wet air. I also understand fully that hot air holds a lot more water than cold air. Hence, 50% humidity on a 50 degree day is far less moisture in the air than 50% humidity on a 90 degree day. Last summer, there were a number of hot days when the humidity was very low. I could feel the moisture being sucked out of my body. It was being sucked out of our plants as quickly as they were watered, it was evaporating from our lakes and rivers-I believe rather rapidly. Here is my limited data: April 1, 2012, my inland lake and rivers flowing in and out of it were above average level-over the top of my seawall. I had to wait till late May–later than any other year– to rake the low ground by the lake. By early July, the lake and rivers were below average and never recovered. I have had practically no measurable liquid precipitation in the past 30 days. (A little snow that doesn’t count for much when it melts.) Today, my lake level is lower than normal for April. I don’t believe that precipitation here in St. Joseph County has been above average this winter. Just because it was in G.R. doesn’t mean it was everywhere in the Great Lakes Basin. I don’t know if I am technically in a drought, but I do know that if we don’t get some rain, we will be. And I do know that the St. Joseph River, which is the watershed where I live, is one of the major tributaries feeding Lake Michigan. Maybe there’s ample moisture on the way. I hope so. We’ll see.

    1. big Daddy BC says:

      Excellent!

        1. big Daddy BC says:

          OMG

        2. Bill Steffen says:

          Look at this…NASA says global sea-surface temperatures are COOLING (since 2002)! http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2008/Fig2b.gif

    2. Bill Steffen says:

      Here’s the link to the article that you are referring to: http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/pressure-mounts-to-restore-great-lakes-water-levels-f76ug5a-170854881.html I’ll quote from the article:

      “The St. Clair has been heavily dredged for over a century, and the federal government has long acknowledged that this human meddling in the riverbed has led to a permanent drop of about 16 inches from Michigan and Huron’s long-term average.”

      “A Canadian conservation group created by property owners from northern Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay hired its own engineering firm to conduct a study of what was going on in the St. Clair River back in 2004. That study said the water lost from the lakes by expanding the river channel was actually much greater than 16 inches – and getting worse.”

      “The engineering firm concluded that an Army Corps dredging project completed in the early 1960s had exposed the riverbed to severe – and ongoing – erosion that helped trigger a massive and increasing water loss from Michigan and Huron. The problem was compounded by the fact that shoreline hardening in Lake Huron with structures like docks and retaining walls stopped the natural flow of sand and silt into the St. Clair to fill in the river bottom. The Georgian Bay group likened the problem to an ever-expanding drain on a bathtub. Others called it a hole in the bottom of the lakes.

      Responding to public concern, the Joint Commission instructed a team of scientists in 2007 to focus on the St. Clair as part of a larger study of water levels on Lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior. Working under orders to get that work done fast, this “study board” responded in 2009 that unexpected erosion had indeed occurred since the 1960s dredging but that it was not ongoing and had led to an additional water loss of only about 3 to 5 inches from the lakes. Because of the previously acknowledged 16-inch loss tied to earlier dredging, that means if you walk down to the shore of Lake Michigan today the water is about 20 inches lower than it would otherwise be, according to that study.

      So their acknowledging a drop of 20″ and the Canadian study says more than that.

      The relative humidity would be higher (the absolute humidity, too) on a hot day with light winds over Lake Michigan than over the land area (at the shore, a lake breeze would have cooled the air and more than likely raised the dew point.

      I don’t have a first-order station in St. Joseph County to check here at home, but I did look up the precipitation totals for the airport at Benton Harbor. Here’s precipitation with the average in ( ) for this past winter: December 2.60″ (2.13″), January 2.97″ (2.04″), February 2.41″ (1.65″). For the 3 winter months, I get 7.98″ or 137% of average. I also looked up the monthly data from March to November and that totaled 27.18″ compared to an average of of 30.44″. For the year, March 2012 thru February 2013, Benton Harbor got 35.16″ of precipitation compared to an average of 36.26″ or 97% of average. Nothing there to justify a 17-inch drop in water level in one year.

      The water temperature of Lake Michigan would have been cooler than the water temperature of inland lakes. The water of Lake Michigan actually got warmer in 1980 and 1988 than it did last year.

      I’m sure you don’t think the fluctuations on your lake were caused by CO2 in the atmosphere.

  14. Resourceful Nana says:

    As I said, I read the article. The information you quoted in the last post does not give the specifics I want to see: How much sediment was removed in the dredging? How many additional gallons of water does this allow to flow through the system? I want to see the numbers that support the conclusion. If the St. Clair River has been heavily dredged for over 100 years, why is so much of the recent drop being attributed to the dredging? How deep/wide is that hole? Why isn’t the fact that other rivers that are part of the Great Lakes Basin that have also been dredged; being considered in the drop of water level? Another question: How much more water from the great lakes was used last summer, than normal, by municipalities to water lawns and keep things green?
    My main question is how can we point to one thing (St. Clair River Dredging) when there are so many, many variables???? There is nothing in that article that answers that question–except an engineering firm and some appointed scientists say so. How can you be satisfied with that? I’m going to say again that I’m not satisfied with that explanation.
    Thank you for the statistics from Benton Harbor. As you noted, the monthly precipitation totals from March through Nov 2012 were below normal. I’m guessing the precipitation here was even more below normal which confirms my suggestion that not everyone is above average. Do you have any numbers for March 2013? You did not mention the lack, or “lower than normal” cover of ice on the great lakes this past winter. Would you think the lack of ice might explain the lack of rebound in the lake level during a winter when precipitation is above/near normal in many places? I believe less evaporation would occur in a winter when there is considerable ice. My question here is, how much more evaporation occurs over open water as opposed to over ice?
    Finally, nothing in this discussion explains why the surface water in my area is so much lower this spring than it was last spring. I watch it fluctuate annually, with the low flow typically in August and a high level in early spring. If this is the high level for this year, it could be a very difficult summer for kayaking! If it is a “normal” spring, we will get some heavy spring rainfall and that will bring the level up, at least temporarily. We have hundreds of center pivots that pull from the groundwater. But I’m told by the folks at MSU Extension that the water table below ground and the surface water level do not seem to fluctuate equally–at least not in this area. They tell me that our water table has remained fairly constant while the surface water level has dropped significantly.
    What do I think causes the fluctuations on Portage lake? I certainly think the variability of precipitation and evaporation are involved, along with an increasing amount that is being withdrawn. In addition, there are several dams on the St. Joseph River where gates may have been opened wider in order to generate enough power. Bottom line, when the level goes down, there’s more water leaving than coming in and there are many ways the water might leave. And vice versa—

  15. Resourceful Nana says:

    Changed my mind on the “vice versa” in previous post. There are many ways water leaves a watershed, but precipitation is the only way I can think of that it enters.

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      You’re questions are good ones. More study is needed, but there is enough here (2 engineering studies and an admission by the Army Corps) to point to dredging as a significant factor in the loss of water from Lake Michigan/Huron. I certainly don’t think that dredging the St. Clair River is the only factor, but such a drop (17″ in one year) cannot be explained by evaporation/precipitation/winter ice cover alone. While Lake Michigan/Huron had quite a drop in water level, Lake Erie was above average for a while last spring. The 97% of average in a year at Benton Harbor is awfully close to average. Here’s another article for you to read from Mark Torregrossa, a meteorologist: http://www.mlive.com/weather/index.ssf/2013/04/great_lakes_water_levels_a_maj.html

      I’m not familiar with the inflow/outflow of Portage Lake, but it would be interesting to study.

      You’re going to have the wettest week in months. You could see 2-3″ of rain by the time the week is over. This should bring up inland lakes in S. Lower Michigan and probably add an inch to Michigan/Huron (less rain north or it would be more).

  16. Resourceful Nana says:

    Listened to a pod cast from a NOAA, great lakes hydrology scientist last night. His data shows a significant increase in the evaporation from the Great Lakes in the past ten years compared to previous records. I am fascinated with this topic and want to know as much as I can because I am part of a farm family that irrigates from surface and ground water, work on the county Conservation District Board and reside on a lake. I have a pretty good science education, but it puts me in a place where I know there is still so much we don’t know!
    2-3 inches all at once would not be good–so much uncovered ground-it would run-off and carry sediment with it. If it drizzles all day for a couple days this week, that would be better. Just checked the rain gauge from the first line that just passed through. Got a whopping 1/10 of an inch.

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      What is “significant”. Evaporation over Lake Michigan is extremely difficult to measure. It can’t be done by satellite…how do you get a significant data grid over a lake that covers 22,000+ square miles? Temperatures were only very slightly warmer in the decade of the 2000s than in the decade of the 1990s…less than a degree C at many (most?) stations (and again, these stations are on land, not over the water…even the buoys are taken in during the cold season). I’ve seen data “fudged” too many times not to be skeptical without seeing the data and methodology for myself.

      Keep the umbrella handy…this is going to be wet week and it looks like April will be the 3rd month out of four with above average precipitation over much of our area.

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