Extreme precipitation across the Great Lakes has increased by 35 percent over the past 65 years, causing lake levels to fluctuate at unprecedented rates. Meanwhile, studies have shown that by 2025, half of the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas. These changes in water quantity have devastated coastal communities and afflicted farmers who rely on water to produce crops. Researchers at the University of Michigan are working closely with community partners to explore pressing issues that impact water quantity, which affect everything from water quality, fish and wildlife to shipping, tourism and recreation.
The southwest must fight for its water and its future
Without a sustainable water supply, life in the desert is all but impossible. Flows of the Colorado are steadily shrinking because it’s snowing and raining less in the headwaters. Even bigger reductions in river flow have occurred due to the impact of relentless global warming.
‘Doomsday Glacier’ may be more stable than initially feared
The world’s largest ice sheets may be in less danger of sudden collapse than previously predicted, according to new findings led by U-M. Researchers modeled the collapse of various heights of ice cliffs—near-vertical formations that occur where glaciers and ice shelves meet the ocean. They found that instability doesn’t always lead to rapid disintegration.
Water scarcity footprint reveals impacts of individual dietary choices in US
A lot of attention has been paid in recent years to the carbon footprint of the foods we eat, with much of the focus on the outsize contribution of meat production and especially beef. But much less is known about the implications of individual U.S. dietary choices on other environmental concerns, such as water scarcity.
Great Lakes Water Levels
How will fluctuating water levels across the Great Lakes impact the growth of cities, people moving to the region, changes in water supply and the overall economy? Professor Drew Gronewold is working with researchers across U-M to answer those critical questions.
What’s happening with Great Lakes water levels?
Drew Gronewold discusses the impact that climate change is having on lake levels in the Great Lakes, and how his research can contribute to predictive models that can inform future policy decisions.
The dynamic nature of the Great Lakes system
After more than a decade of decline, water levels in Lakes Michigan and Huron reached historic lows in 2013, impacting the economy and ecology of the region. Then, during 2013 and 2014, the lakes nearly set another record as they experienced one of the largest two-year gains in water levels in recorded history, underscoring the dynamic nature of the Great Lakes system.
Opinion: Wave of flooding a wake-up call
Drew Gronewold and Richard Rood explain how a series of historically damaging floods “serve as warnings that we must better prepare and plan for the future ahead.”
NOAA - Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory
Great Lakes water levels are continuously monitored by U.S. and Canadian federal agencies in the region through a binational partnership. NOAA-GLERL relies on this water level data to conduct research on components of the regional water budget and to improve predictive models.
Great Lakes ice cover forecasts: New approach enables local predictions
Highly localized and accurate Great Lakes ice cover forecasts have been demonstrated by researchers at U-M, and their predictive modeling tool can be adapted for any geographic region. Such localized forecasts would be useful more broadly as climate change brings a roller coaster of weather variability to many parts of the world, including those who live along, play in and make their living from the world’s largest surface source of freshwater.
From the Edge of the Arctic
One U-M engineering alumna describes her work at Toolik Field Station, a world-renowned Arctic research outpost deep in Alaska’s interior.