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Monday, January 28, 2008

Great Lakes lower water levels

Power plants have been forced to extend pipes that draw in cooling water, former wetlands have dried up, and docks have led to muck rather than water thanks to lower water levels in the Great Lakes. Driving the drying is a decrease in ice cover every winter, according to the Washington Post.

September saw Lake Superior reach its lowest level since record-keeping began in 1926 thanks to ice cover that extends to a thin sheet of ice or a few isolated floes. This, in turn, has led to ships running aground.

Warmer air and water temperatures share the blame for the lack of ice, which is driving the long-term trend of lower lake levels. And because only 1 percent of Great Lakes water is replaced every year, significant lost water may be impossible to replace.

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