Please support this Forum and Neven's Blog

Author Topic: Regional/Local Impacts of Global Warming in the Great Lakes  (Read 2289 times)

ClimateChange

  • ASIF Lurker
  • Posts: 12
    • View Profile
I know the focus of this board is on the Arctic, but I wish more people would take note of the dramatic changes that are occurring right here in America. Yet it's a common misbelief that climate change is on hiatus or not having the impact here that it is in the Arctic. The models play into this misbelief because they don't match up with what the real trends show. Part of the problem is everybody alive today was born into a globally-warmed world, so our perception of normal is already skewed.  If we could invent a time machine to transport people back to 1810 (or even 1860 for that matter) when the earth's atmospheric concentration of CO2 was only very slightly elevated by humanity, this would eradicate a lot of the denialism or confusion about global warming. Because the records that survive from this era disclose that the climate from that era would be so starkly different from the one today.

Here in northeast Ohio, for instance, it no longer gets cold in the winter. In fact, since the 1960s, the annual extreme wintertime minimum temperature has been increasing on average 2 to 3 degrees every ten years! And this is not an urban heat island effect, these trends are also documented at rural and suburban sites. This winter, widely regarded as a cold winter in the popular opinion, media, etc. never even reached zero. Historically, temperatures below zero would occur on 5 to 10 days a winter, now they occur less than one time per winter and rapidly they are disappearing from existence.

What this suggests to me is that global warming is progressing much faster than is being realized when one looks solely at the global temperature data sets. It also suggests that there are other factors at work here. The scientific research often focuses on how the Great Lakes will be affected by climate change. There should be more focus on how the Great Lakes will affect global warming trends. Like in the Arctic, I suspect that the eventual loss of wintertime ice cover on the lakes will greatly increase global warming and that's what we're seeing in the loss of extreme cold in the region. By contrast, weather models erroneously suggest that summer temperatures will increase more than winter in this part of the world. The Lakes are rapidly warming -- faster than nearby land air temperatures, in fact, due to the change in ice behavior. Lake Erie is icing out several weeks earlier than it used to, and in recent years this has led to unprecedented spring and summer water temperatures. Eventually I think it will reach a tipping point where the water temperature gets extremely hot (90+) during the summer and stays warm (40+) all winter long. This will cause a dramatic change in the climate of the surrounding areas.

It's worth noting that if current trends persist (i.e. a 2-3 degree increase in extreme winter time minima ever ten years), the coldest temperature recorded wouldn't be much below 30 by the early 22nd century. Unfortunately, global warming is expected to increase in speed and intensity during that period due to increased emissions, so it may start to warm even more rapidly. I suspect the climate of Cleveland may resemble that of present-day Miami by 2100 or so (assuming an 800 ppm+ CO2 atmosphere). A more appropriate comparison would be the Eocene era climate of Wyoming, when fossil evidence shows crocodiles and palm trees dwelled in that state. The only reason even the hothouse Eocene era could support that was due to the presence of a large, prehistoric body of water which modified the continental climate of the region -- just like we'll see with the Great Lakes in the future!

ccgwebmaster

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1085
  • Civilisation collapse - what are you doing?
    • View Profile
    • CCG Website
Re: Regional/Local Impacts of Global Warming in the Great Lakes
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2013, 02:35:30 PM »
I know the focus of this board is on the Arctic, but I wish more people would take note of the dramatic changes that are occurring right here in America.

One of the things I'm happy about this forum for is that it isn't just about the Arctic and there is apparently room on the edges to discuss all sorts of other topics, even where the relationships are rather convoluted and tenuous. I think it fair to say there is already plenty of discussion about changes in America - and to some extent other parts of the world (if you read through posts).

I would like to say America is not the only part of the world experiencing climate change and we would do well to take a whole world view on this. If your wish is that more Americans take notice of what is happening in their own country (and the world...) - I understand - if it is that people who have nothing to do with America take more notice of American problems, I cannot agree - America already gets a disproportionate amount of attention globally at the cost of poorer people in many nations.

This is first and foremost a global problem, given that no nation has an opt out. By any measure there are other extremely important global players besides America, and from a humanitarian point of view there are many other people less advantaged in trying to deal with the consequences of all this.

[EDIT] I'd like to clarify that a bit - my feeling is that at least half the population of the planet is underrepresented (for example, India, China, Africa) in terms of our awareness in western nations (is there anyone in the forum from any of those parts of the world?). Given that this is a global problem I think tribal self interests are a threat to meaningful action (in the sense that no action is meaningful if the outcome is ultimately failure).

[EDIT] I've followed up on that theme in a more appropriate thread here (https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,192.msg6644.html#msg6644). I don't want to detract from the great lakes as a valid topic - apologies for the misdirection (and any element of peevishness about being inundated with US centric news/information/material).
« Last Edit: June 03, 2013, 06:12:04 PM by ccgwebmaster »

TerryM

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1206
    • View Profile
Re: Regional/Local Impacts of Global Warming in the Great Lakes
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2013, 10:04:34 PM »
ccg


i think Climatechange may have a point re. the changes that the Great Lakes may have on climate. My proximity to the lakes may be affecting my judgment, but it seems as though the state of such large bodies of water might affect weather as far away as James Bay or even Southern Greenland? If so it's probably of more than local concern.


Terry


OldLeatherneck

  • ASIF Middle Class
  • Posts: 554
    • View Profile
Re: Regional/Local Impacts of Global Warming in the Great Lakes
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2013, 11:15:45 PM »

...........i think Climatechange may have a point re. the changes that the Great Lakes may have on climate. My proximity to the lakes may be affecting my judgment, but it seems as though the state of such large bodies of water might affect weather as far away as James Bay or even Southern Greenland? If so it's probably of more than local concern.
Terry

Terry, I remember Dr. Jeff Masters on Wunderground discussing this issue in a post sometime in 2012.  Other than this past winter of 2013, recent years have much reduced ice levels which provides more water vapor to fuel "lake effect" snow events.

We are entering a completely new climate regime globally.  One which may continue to change more frequently than decadally.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 02:03:41 AM by OldLeatherneck »
"Share Your Knowledge.  It's a Way to Achieve Immortality."  ......the Dalai Lama

ghoti

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 453
    • View Profile
Re: Regional/Local Impacts of Global Warming in the Great Lakes
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2013, 01:46:51 AM »
Apparently the lack of winter ice on Lake Superior has resulted in inbreeding of the wolf population on Isle Royale. Wolf migration used to happen over the ice in the past keeping the gene pool somewhat more diverse.

Anonymouse

  • ASIF Lurker
  • Posts: 60
    • View Profile
Re: Regional/Local Impacts of Global Warming in the Great Lakes
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2013, 10:19:43 AM »
I was born in the midwest and had noticed, in an idle way, during my teenage years, a lessening of snow during winter.  My dad grew up on the very northern (US) edge of Lake Superior, and has all kinds of observations on how the past logging has completely changed the populations of tree growth (now they are all "junk" trees, ie: soft pine) based on his grandpa's experience of what it used to look like.  The "blowdown" in the Gunflint Trail a few years ago was startling to many people, and the fire danger up there is still extreme. 

EDIT: In regards to the great lakes, there is a lot of concern.  They are a huge source of fresh water that, in addition to being increasingly populated by invasive exotic species, are also under pressure to export that water as far as Los Angeles (in some forums).   The water wars will commence unless we come to our senses.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 10:56:42 AM by Anonymouse »

Anonymouse

  • ASIF Lurker
  • Posts: 60
    • View Profile
Re: Regional/Local Impacts of Global Warming in the Great Lakes
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2013, 11:34:55 AM »
ccg:

Your points are all very valid.  The world should be up on the CC issue.  But if the states are starting to talk about this, it is a good thing. They are responsible for most of this mess up until now.  But if the rest of the world is to be included in this conversation, they need to talk.  This forum is a place for that.  It is easy to start a thread, but less easy to keep it alive.  Personally, I would welcome a discussion dedicated to observations from people who live in less-represented areas of the world.
I am still unwilling to link to this site in other places, though, for obvious reasons.

Tigertown

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1198
    • View Profile
Re: Regional/Local Impacts of Global Warming in the Great Lakes
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2017, 07:36:40 PM »
The lakes seem to have retained a little warmth from last summer, the same as other bodies of water have recently. I read that a cold blast froze pretty much everything over last February in just a matter of a few days. May not be as likely this year, even with all the Arctic air that is escaping. Earth NS shows most surface temps. to be around 40 C.
NOAA Report:

JR-ice

  • ASIF Lurker
  • Posts: 7
    • View Profile
Re: Regional/Local Impacts of Global Warming in the Great Lakes
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2017, 08:34:42 PM »
As a resident of Syracuse NY, this topic hits close.  "Lake effect" snowstorms (and rainstorms) impact us tremendously, even though we are not a typical shoreline Great Lakes city.  Higher lake temperatures means more opportunities for snow to come streaming from as far away as Superior, across northern Huron, then across Ontario to be dumped into upstate New York.  I also feel like the winters as not as cold as when I was a kid.  It used to get so cold, that you would wake up to the sound of the trees "cracking."  It still gets cold, but just not for as long.

For me, at least, it seems like the biggest impact of climate change in this region to this point has been an increase in extremes and variability.  The drought/heat in summer and inconsistent snow cover in winter is extremely hard on the plant and animal life here.

I guess it remains to be seen if an Arctic blast can change things on the lakes this winter...