The Midwest doesn’t generally have to cope with wildfires, but here, too, climate change is altering our environment in ways that are powerful and dangerous to people as well as property. The most obvious effect is the rising waters in the Great Lakes. Lake Michigan, Erie and Huron set all-time records for high levels this year, and Superior broke its February record. Recent years have been the wettest for the Great Lakes in more than 120 years.
I am so old that I remember a couple years ago when the very opposite worry was true:
Lake Michigan has officially sunk to an all-time low.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported Tuesday that in January the lake plunged below its previous record low level, set in March 1964.
The water is now more than 6 feet below the record high, set in October 1986. The water level is tracked by gauges placed around Lakes Michigan and Huron, which are actually one body of water connected by the Straits of Mackinac. Daily measurements are then averaged at the end of each month for record-keeping purposes.
Remember, gentle reader, when anyone talks about climate measurements being the mostest and the worstest in history, they do not mean like since Ur and the flood that appears in many historical mythologies (the current amount of fresh water, a scarce commodity in many parts of the world, is a CIVILIZATION ENDING EVENT!). History in this case means a hundred years or so when measurement began, and where the measurement in the early part of “history” was not standardized or as precise as it is now.
But the countdown is on to the next set of stories talking about how low lake levels are not going to provide enough water for the cities and the fish. I think it’s got about six years of sand in that particular glass.