The Northeast is not the only region experiencing a milder than normal weather pattern this winter. The entire Great Lakes region is much warmer than usual as well. So much so that ice has yet to form on any of the Great Lakes. Ice usually forms on Lake Erie sometime in November and is completely frozen over by some time in January. However, this winter for the first time in its 100 year history the Miller Boat Lines is running it ferry across Lake Erie through the entire month of January. On Munising Bay in Lake Superior the conditions are much the same. Even Lake St. Clair, the smallest of the Great Lakes has yet to see any significant ice formation. The lack of ice on the Great Lakes is bad news for more than just the ice fisherman. According to the US Army Corp of Engineers Office in Detroit the lack of ice will increase evaporation rates. Each of the Great Lakes is currently between 2 and 12 inches below last years water levels. Lake Superior is expected to lose another two inches this month. The expectations for Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are that they will each fall one inch over the next 30 days due to increased evaporation. The Great Lakes region which includes the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence river basins and their surrounding wetlands and watersheds contains 20% of the world’s fresh water. According to a report by the EPA the negative impacts of the projected warming rates for the region will negatively impact the trout and salmon populations, the water quality for the towns and cities in the region, the size and diversity of the forests, already endangered species, and the breeding of waterfowl.
For more information on the impact of global warming on the Great Lakes Region you can refer to the EPA website or follow this link to the EPA report