Hot Times for a Cold Lake
July 27, 2012
Hot times for a cold lake; Lake Superior headed for record temp from the Great Lakes Echo says that Lake Superior is already the warmest it’s been at this time of year in at least a century. The group Climate Central recently reported that Lake Superior began warming earlier than normal because of low lake ice cover, the March heat wave and warm temps have kept the heat on.
“It’s pretty safe to say that what we’re seeing here is the warmest that we’ve seen in Lake Superior in a century,” said Jay Austin, a professor at the University of Minnesota at Duluth, who has researched the lake’s water temperatures back to the beginning of the 20th century.
The lake’s record temperatures are yet another consequence of the record heat so far in 2012. The contiguous U.S. had its warmest January-to-June period since records began in the late 19th century. Manmade global warming will likely result in more years with very warm water temperatures, which could have significant adverse consequences for marine life. In a rare benefit from the ongoing drought, this summer has been so dry that the warm water temperatures are not resulting in major harmful algal blooms, such as one that occurred on Lake Erie last year.
Instrument data from three buoys in Lake Superior provide a reliable record of water temperatures since about 1980, and the information also shows that, with water temperatures running in the mid-to-upper 60s (and even warmer closer to shore), “we are at record temperatures for this time of year,” according to Austin.
When the 2nd biggest lake on the planet is sounding alarm bells, it might be a good idea to listen.