Great Lakes Hydrology Under Transposed Climates
- Cite this article as:
- Croley II, T.E., Quinn, F.H., Kunkel, K.E. et al. Climatic Change (1998) 38: 405. doi:10.1023/A:1005344010723
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Historical climates, based on 43 years of daily data from areas south and southwest of the Great Lakes, were used to examine the hydrological response of the Great Lakes to warmer climates. The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory used their conceptual models for simulating moisture storages in, and runoff from, the 121 watersheds draining into the Great Lakes, over-lake precipitation into each lake, and the heat storages in, and evaporation from, each lake. This transposition of actual climates incorporates natural changes in variability and timing within the existing climate; this is not true for General Circulation Model-generated corrections applied to existing historical data in many other impact studies. The transposed climates lead to higher and more variable over-land evapotranspiration and lower soil moisture and runoff with earlier runoff peaks since the snow pack is reduced up to 100%. Water temperatures increase and peak earlier. Heat resident in the deep lakes increases throughout the year. Buoyancy-driven water column turnover frequency drops and lake evaporation increases and spreads more throughout the annual cycle. The response of runoff to temperature and precipitation changes is coherent among the lakes and varies quasi-linearly over a wide range of temperature changes, some well beyond the range of current GCM predictions for doubled CO2 conditions.