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TitlePast changes in the Laurentian Great Lakes of North America: context for a better understanding of their future?
AuthorLewis, C F M; Rea, D K; Hubeny, J B; Thompson, T A; Blasco, S M; King, J W; Reddin, M; Moore, T C, Jr
SourceVerhandlungen der Internationalen Vereinigung fur Limnologie vol. 30, pt. 7, 2009, 1 pages
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20070114
AreaGreat Lakes; Canada; United States of America
Lat/Long WENS-92.0000 -76.0000 49.5000 41.0000
Subjectshydrogeology; Nature and Environment; glacial history; deglaciation; limnology; lake sediments; Quaternary; Cenozoic
ProgramEnhancing resilience in a changing climate
AbstractThe history of the Great Lakes since their formation during the last deglaciation is, as yet, a largely unused dimension of knowledge that provides many examples of changing climate, hydrology and limnology. As scientists face the challenge of developing scenarios for Great Lakes hydrology and ecology under the influence of future climates, which may differ from present, their projections are necessarily based on knowledge of the current lakes as understood through observations and measurements of the last decade to century. Projections of future conditions that lie outside the range of observed variability are subject to uncertainty. Evaluation of past events could provide a context for understanding change in the lakes, and potentially for validating numerical models to increase confidence in the results of future scenarios. Here, selected events from the geological history of the Great Lakes will be presented. These include long term lake-level records emerging from beach ridge studies, sedimentary black bands as a proxy of anoxic events, an episode of hydrologic closure to illustrate sensitivity of lake levels to climate change, and teleconnection of the lakes with Pacific El Nino oscillations.