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Posts tagged Great Lakes

Impact Climate Change Will Have on New York State, USA

43.9N 77.2W

June 22nd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Lakes AVHRRMetOp

USA and Canada – June 21st, 2013

Climate change in New York state may cause some initially positive effects for certain people, in general it is creating alarming issues. While the long-term outlook for grape-growers in the Finger Lakes region (lower right quadrant) is favorable, it is less than optimal for skiers and other winter sports enthusiasts in the Adirondacks. Fir and spruce trees are expected to die out in the Catskills, and New York City’s backup drinking water supply may well be contaminated as a result of seawater making its way farther up the Hudson River.

These possibilities — modeled deep into this century — are detailed in a new assessment of the impact that climate change will have in New York State. If carbon emissions continue to increase at their current pace, ttemperatures are expected to rise across the state by 3 degrees Fahrenheit by the 2020s and by as much as 9 degrees by the 2080s.

That would have profound effects on agriculture across the state. For example, none of the varieties of apples currently grown in New York orchards would be viable. Dairy farms would be less productive as cows faced heat stress. And the state’s forests would be transformed; spruce-fir forests and alpine tundra would disappear as invasive species like kudzu, an aggressive weed, gained more ground.

If the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets melt, as the report says could happen, the sea level could rise by as much as 55 inches, which means that beach communities would frequently be inundated by flooding. The effects of climate change would fall disproportionately on the poor and the disabled, since in coastal areas in New York City and along rivers in upstate New York there is a high amount of low-income housing that would be in the path of flooding (click here for more information).

Lake Superior Feeling the Heat: Climate Change and the Great Lakes of North America

47.0N 86.3W

June 14th, 2013 Category: Lakes AVHRRMetOp

USA and Canada – June 14th, 2013

The Great Lakes are feeling the heat from climate change. As the world’s largest freshwater system warms, it is poised to systematically alter life for local wildlife and the tribes that depend on it, and the warming could also provide a glimpse of what is happening on a more global level.

Total ice cover on Lake Superior (center), which is the largest, deepest and coldest of the five lakes, has shrunk by about 20 percent over the past 37 years. Though the change has made for longer, warmer summers, it’s a problem because ice is crucial for keeping water from evaporating and it regulates the natural cycles of the Great Lakes (click here for more information).


Urban Sprawl in the Great Lakes Region, USA – May 31st, 2013

42.3N 83W

May 31st, 2013 Category: Image of the day

USA – May 30th, 2013

Urban sprawl can be generally defined as wide-spread, low-density development that consists primarily of strip commercial developments, such as malls and large office buildings, and housing subdivisions connected by new, wide roads and boulevards. The subdivisions are set apart from other development and built within a specific price range, and people are dependant on their cars to get them from one place to another. With sprawl, fewer people occupy more land and as the people spread out, so do the buildings, roads and houses.

The Great Lakes region is losing its rich farmland and other greenfields to urban sprawl at an alarming rate, and the environment and the residents are paying the price. Many cities of the Great Lakes region, such as Chicago (upper left, on the shores of Lake Michigan), Detroit (above, center, on the northwestern shores of Lake Erie) and Cleveland (southeast of Detroit, on the southwestern shores of Lake Erie), are seeing their businesses and residents move to the suburbs, forever destroying open spaces and leaving behind cities of abandoned buildings with fewer tax payers.

With little or no land use planning to protect greenfields, farm fields and rural countrysides and ecologically important habitats such as wetlands have been carved up. More roads were needed to connect the new development to downtown, which invited more development on the outskirts and the cycle continues today. As more people and businesses move out to former greenfields, fewer taxpayers are supporting older towns and cities, leaving them to deteriorate (click here for more information).

Rising Temperatures in the Great Lakes, USA and Canada

44.7N 82.7W

May 26th, 2013 Category: Lakes

USA – May 25th, 2013

The climate of the Great Lakes is changing. Higher global temperatures change patterns of seasons and precipitation at Great Lakes regional and local levels. These uncertainties impact ecology, economy, and social well-being.

Average temperatures increased by 2.3°F (1.3°C) from 1968 to 2002 in the Great Lakes region. By 2050, an average air temperature increase of 1.8 to 5.4°F (1 to 3°C) is projected. By 2100, an average air temperature increase of 3.6 to 11.2 °F (2 to 6.2°C) is projected. Winter temperatures will likely experience a greater increase than the summer months.

Lake temperatures have been increasing faster than surrounding air temperatures. Both inland lakes and the Great Lakes will likely experience longer warm seasons. Warmer water surface temperatures may increase the stratification of the lakes, decrease vertical mixing in the spring-winter, and lead to more low-oxygen, “dead zones” and toxic algal blooms.

Great Lakes Region and Climate Change, USA and Canada

45.8N 85.8W

May 25th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Lakes

USA – May 24th, 2013

The Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada is a land of striking glacial legacies: spectacular lakes, vast wetlands, fertile southern soils, and rugged northern terrain forested in spruce and fir. It is also home to 60 million people whose actions can profoundly affect the region’s ecological bounty and the life-sustaining benefits it provides.

Now that the world is entering a period of unusually rapid climate change, driven largely by human activities that release heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the responsibility for  safeguarding our natural heritage is becoming urgent. Growing evidence suggests that the climate of the Great Lakes region is already changing: winters are getting shorter, annual average temperatures are growing warmer, and extreme heat events are occurring more frequently. The duration of lake ice cover is decreasing as air and water temperatures rise. Heavy precipitation events, both rain and snow, are becoming more common (click here for more information).