Citizens Respond: How do you think climate will impact the Great Lakes?

There's no guarantee that their opinions are correct, but here's what others think:

  • Lake level declines will lead either to decreased shipping or increased dredging. Commodities shipped out of Duluth-Superior will change as the wheat belt and corn belt move north and Churchill comes on line as an alternative port. Lake Superior will increase in ecological importance as a cold-water refuge and as a thermal buffer to terrestrial changes. (Male, 45)
  • We will hopefully have more warm water in the summer, so we can swim more! (Female, 9)
  • Considering the history of the Lakes and the climate change we've seen over the past couple of million years, the climate in the Lakes area will warm, the lake levels will get lower creating more shoreline, and people will move into those "new" shoreline areas. Then the climate will naturally turn cooler again, and over the next million years ice will once again cover the area, eliminating the Great Lakes region as we know it. (Male, 49)
  • The warming trend noted by Jay Austin will be accelerated as concurrent changes in land cover and hydrology decrease cold water runoff. Will we have salmonid fisheries in the future? (Male, 58)
  • In Lake Superior it seems that it might actually improve the fishery for species that are not normally successful in the cold water. (Male, 42)
  • I think a changing climate will increase the ecological and economic pressures on the great lakes by increasing demand for fresh water, increasing susceptibility to invasion by introduced species which would otherwise not survive, reducing water levels as we have seen here in Lake Superior, and possibly increase human impacts as milder climate and water resources draw more people to the area. That's probably just the tip of the iceberg. I would like to know more. (Male, 49)
  • Climate change can be expected to lower the level of the Great Lakes. (Male, 71)
  • Increased evaporation in winter will lower lake levels. Lake ice in winter will become rare to non-existent. Invasive species will likely increase due to higher water temps. Brook trout will disappear from most streams in the Great Lakes watershed, as most streams have little groundwater inflow and their water temps closely reflect ambient air temps. (Male, 48)
  • A changing climate could negatively affect the Great Lakes with regards to conditions conducive to the life living in it. A warmer climate, however, could provide for 12-months-a-year shipping instead of the 10 month year currently used, providing more employment and higher quantities of shipping/production of goods. (Female, 29)
  • A changing climate will impact the Great Lakes by creating a bigger demand for fresh surface water. It is possible that with overall increase of global temperature that there is also an increase of evaporation off of the Great Lakes. (Female, 37)
  • The Great Lakes will be in high demand as a clean freshwater resource. The tributaries that feed into the Great Lakes will likewise see more strain. Lake Superior is already showing signs of strain from global climate change. Its overall depth is lowering, and one of the results is the shipping season being shortened. It is frightening to think of worse times to come. As water will become the new liquid gold in the future, there will be disputes of water between Canada and the US over the lakes that border the countries. (Female, 30)
  • Hopefully make the winter shorter and warmer. (Female, 35)
  • It will affect the water levels and temperature, which will in turn affect shipping, the most fuel efficient way of transporting goods. (Female, 21)
  • It will disrupt the environment we know and love and change it to something that would be very different than what we know. I think the fishing we have would be something that would affect me personally. (Female, 40)
  • I feel that as the climate changes, there will be an ever increasing demand for water from the Great Lakes to be exported to drier areas for irrigation and consumption. In addition, I feel there will be a shift in the aquatic species found in the lakes starting in the smallest lakes which will be more susceptible to temperature changes but eventually effecting even Superior. The last major effect I would foresee occurring would be volume reductions which would also effect which species will be able to survive/adapt to the new climate of the Great Lakes Region. (Female, 29)
  • Mess with the food chain (Female, 25)
  • I think climate will affect the Great Lakes in a large way, and I believe that it has already begun. I envision the waters and activities of the Great Lakes changing as a direct result of the warming climate. The species in the lake and out of the lake will be forced to adapt to the ever changing nature of our climate. The only things I don't know is the time frame that these challenges will present themselves in. (Female, 20)
  • The changing climate will have a great impact on the great lakes. With an increase in wind speed the waves will cause more erosion to the shore line. With the increase in development of communities along the north shore the increase concern for runoff and pollution into the lake after rainstorms (Female, 26)
  • The water level will be dropping and the ships won't be able to carry large loads like in the past. (Female, 47)
  • I would think as the lake's water temperature warms, several negative ecological thresholds will be approached or crossed leading to more invasive species, but perhaps the worst scenario would be the disruption of great lakes food webs, and who knows where that may really end. My hope is that by reducing my (and everyone’s) carbon footprint I won't have to give up my deep-fried herring at local restaurants. (Male, 51)
  • Storms will be worse in both summer and winter. (Female, 53)
  • A changing climate will impact the Great Lakes by lowering the water level over the years. (Female, 16)
  • A changing climate will impact the shipping season, the animals and fish, as well as the land and people that live near any of the lakes. If it gets colder the shipping season will get shorter due to more ice. If it gets warmer than all of the shipping ports will have access year round. Some animals, fish, and plants may die due to a change in water temperature. Some may flourish causing the ecosystem to be unbalanced. The land and people living close to a Great Lake will be affected because large bodies of water hold heat much more than land. If it gets warmer our overall temperature will be much warmer as well, and warmer than those living far away from the lake. (Female, 22)
  • I think climate change may increase the risk of eutrophication in some areas of the lake, cause species shifts, and change the fisheries industries. (Female, 57)
  • I think it will make the water level go up and cause the water temperature to rise causing some species of fish to die with the climate change. (Female, 11)
  • I do not believe it will have a significant impact on the Great Lakes. (Female, 39)
  • I think there will be a change in the aquatic species living in the lake. (Female, 31)
  • I believe that a changing climate could impact the great lakes, by reducing the amount of water total in the great lakes. Undoubtedly the lakes get water from snowfall, which helps keep the levels at a constant level. If we're not accumulating enough snow the lake levels could continue to drop. This would also impact the shipping industry. If there's not enough water to support the ships, the revenue of Duluth could be affected. (Female, 25)
  • As the climate warms up so will the water temperature of the Great Lakes. Changes in temperature could drastically affect the Great Lakes ecosystems and impact the flora & fauna found within them. Increased water temperatures could lead to an influx in the number of aquatic invasive species. These species already compete with native plants & animals and an increased amount would make current conditions even worse. More invasive species in the Great Lakes could also affect recreational opportunities and industry. (Female, 31)
  • If the weather continues to warm, the lakes could see evaporation. Making the lakes shallower (Female, 43)
  • Population will be drawn to the region for the cooler weather and access to fresh water. This may lead to increased pollution. (Male, 41)
  • From an evolutionary perspective, the climate has always been changing, but the Lakes, as we know them now, will experience changing water levels and changing marine life. Probably not in a positive perspective from what we know the Lakes as now. We should do all we can not to accelerate, and if at all possible, reverse, the effects that man has had on the climate. Let nature make changes on her own. (Male, 62)
  • I think the rise in water temperature will cause a reduction in plankton, which in turn will cause fish and other wildlife populations up the food chain to dwindle. Cold water stream temperatures would also be raised possibly causing cold water fish populations, such as walleye and trout to drop. (Male, 34)
  • Less water means lower lakes, which means more intense sunlight making it through the water, which means more weeds, which means we may lose some of our fish species. (Male, 23)
  • It could lower levels of the water, impacting the shoreline. This impacts many animals on the shore. Many animals live in the tide pools, and their livelihoods could be in danger. It could also affect the temperature and oxygen levels in the water, again which would affect the animal population. (Female, 23)
  • I think that lake levels will become more variable (Female, 44)
  • A changing climate could greatly impact the great lakes. If it continues to get warmer, there's a chance the shipping industry could be more productive due to the longer season of the industry. (Female, 26)
  • It may cause the quality of the water to decline, affecting the fish and organisms living in the water. (Male, 37)
  • I think the changing climate will impact the Great Lakes by continuing to see lake levels below normal. (Female, 39)

Climate Change:

Topic Highlights:

Contact:

Hilarie Sorensen
Climate Change Extension Educator

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