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Lake Michigan, Now With Less Water

By Margaret Lyons in News on Jan 3, 2008 8:42PM


It's not just your friends from college: Lake Michigan is getting shallower, too. It's approaching record lows, and its water levels have been dropping since 1997.

After briefly dropping below its record monthly low of 576 feet above sea level (set in March 1964), Lake Michigan water levels recovered slightly to start 2008 at 576.3 feet. But the water is still 13 inches below where it was a year ago and more than 2 feet below the normal average for December.

No one's quite sure what's causing the drop, and it could be a combination of things: climate change, the dredging of the St. Clair river, the Earth's crust shifting due to glaciers shrinking, or maybe overpopulation of water goblins.

In November, the last month we could find data for from the Army Corps of Engineers, Lakes Superior and Ontario were also on the low side. But lakes are very dynamic, and water levels grow and shrink frequently and dramatically. Still, a hydrologist from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls the most recent drop "pretty significant."

Did you know there are no state capitals on a Great Lake?

Lake Michigan shot by Alforque