Report: Great Lakes feeling effects of rapid climate warming

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Great Lakes_149047

SH01L197WATERLAKES Dec. 12, 2001 _ Beginning 10,000 years ago, retreating North American glaciers carved out a marvel of nature so vast that it is easily identifiable from outer space. Together, the Great Lakes contain one-fifth of all the drinkable water on the surface on the planet _ an estimated 6 quadrillion gallons. (SHNS photo courtesy […]

A scientific report says the Great Lakes region is warming faster than the rest of the U.S., which likely will bring more flooding and other extreme weather such as heat waves and drought.

The warming climate also could mean less overall snowfall even as lake-effect snowstorms get bigger, according to the report released Thursday by a team of researchers from universities primarily from the Midwest.

The report also predicts more severe algae blooms in the Great Lakes, which make it unsafe for swimming and increase the costs of treating the water.

Farming could be hit especially hard, with heavy rains delaying spring planting and dry spells requiring more irrigation during summer.

Beaches, dunes and shorelines will be more vulnerable to erosion.

The Chicago-based Environmental Law & Policy Center commissioned the report.

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