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The response of Great Lakes Water Levels to future climate scenarios with an emphasis on Lake Michigan-Huron

TitleThe response of Great Lakes Water Levels to future climate scenarios with an emphasis on Lake Michigan-Huron
Publication TypeManual Entry
AuthorsAngel, James R., and Kenneth E. Kunkel
PublisherElsevier
Place PublishedJournal of Great Lakes Research
Abstract

Future climate change and its impact on Lake Michigan is an important issue for water supply planning in
Illinois. To estimate possible future levels of the Great Lakes due to climate change, the output of 565 model
runs from 23 Global Climate Models were applied to a lake-level model developed by the Great Lakes
Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL). In this study, three future emission scenarios were considered:
the B1, A1B, and A2 emission scenarios representing relatively low, moderate, and high emissions,
respectively. The results showed that the A2 emission scenario yielded the largest changes in lake levels of
the three emission scenarios. Of the three periods examined, lake levels in 2080–2094 exhibited the largest
changes. The response of Lake Superior was the smallest of the Great Lakes, while lakes Michigan-Huron,
Erie, and Ontario were similar in their response over time and between emission scenarios. For Lake
Michigan-Huron, the median changes in lake levels at 2080–2094 were −0.25, −0.28, and −0.41 m for the
B1, A1B, and A2 emission scenarios, respectively. However, the range in lake levels was considerable. The
wide range of results is due to the differences in emission scenarios and the uncertainty in the model
simulations. Selecting model simulations based on their historical performance does little to reduce the
uncertainty. The wide range of lake-level changes found here make it difficult to envision the level of impacts
that change in future lake levels would cause.

Citation Key2163
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