Lake Michigan Water Level Isn't at a 'Record Low'

Neil Snyder
Chicagoans awoke yesterday to frightening news: the water level in Lake Michigan is lower than it has "ever been":

The water levels of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are lower than they have ever been, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday.

Though water levels have been below average for the past 14 years, last winter's lack of snow and the hot and dry summer are to blame for this year's record low.

That kind of information is grist to the mill of global warming aficionados who scan news items regularly trying to find evidence that supports their belief.  Unfortunately for them, recordkeeping for water levels on Lake Michigan didn't begin until 1918.  That's less than 100 years ago, and planet earth has been around for at least 4.54 billion years.

I have a question for climate change deniers: does "ever been" include only 100 years of earth's history, or should it include the other 4.54 billion years as well?

If they can bring themselves to believe that the earth existed before the first government bureaucrat started keeping records, then this short primer on the Great Lakes should help to enlighten them: How the Great Lakes were Formed.

The Great Lakes are about 12,000 years old.  That means there was a time when the water level of Lake Michigan was zero.  Stated another way, there was no Lake Michigan until very recently in earth's history, and climate change caused it to develop.

Earth's climate has been fluctuating since the beginning, and by that I mean since it formed more than 4 billion years ago.  The Little Ice Age started in the 1300s A.D., that's just yesterday in geological terms, and it lasted for about 500 years.  Longitudinal data shows that today's global warming started in the 1850s following the Little Ice Age, and it had absolutely nothing to do with man-made CO2 emissions.  This information isn't new except to people who don't know the facts. 

The latest National Academies of Science (NAS) report on global warming admits that all we really know for sure is that we are warmer now than we have been during the last 400 years which is mostly made up of the Little Ice Age.  This should be obvious, but obviously it's not: when the earth is coming out of an ice age of any sort, its temperature rises.  But there's more.  Earth's temperature hasn't increased one iota since the 1990s, so we may in fact be in another cooling cycle.

I wrote a novel about this subject titled Stand! hoping to educate Americans so they could avoid the unnecessary costs associated with trying to solve a "problem" that we didn't create and can't influence in any significant way.  Global warming fanatics and others should read the book and put a damper on their unfounded fears.   Some fanatics will, but I'm afraid that most of them won't because they live by this credo: to hell with the facts, I have an opinion.

Ignorance isn't bliss, but it is expensive.  Al Gore, Barack Obama, and people of their ilk may not want to accept the facts since the facts don't line up with their political philosophy, but you, your children, and your grandchildren should.


Neil Snyder is the Ralph A. Beeton Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia.  His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily.




Chicagoans awoke yesterday to frightening news: the water level in Lake Michigan is lower than it has "ever been":

The water levels of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are lower than they have ever been, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday.

Though water levels have been below average for the past 14 years, last winter's lack of snow and the hot and dry summer are to blame for this year's record low.

That kind of information is grist to the mill of global warming aficionados who scan news items regularly trying to find evidence that supports their belief.  Unfortunately for them, recordkeeping for water levels on Lake Michigan didn't begin until 1918.  That's less than 100 years ago, and planet earth has been around for at least 4.54 billion years.

I have a question for climate change deniers: does "ever been" include only 100 years of earth's history, or should it include the other 4.54 billion years as well?

If they can bring themselves to believe that the earth existed before the first government bureaucrat started keeping records, then this short primer on the Great Lakes should help to enlighten them: How the Great Lakes were Formed.

The Great Lakes are about 12,000 years old.  That means there was a time when the water level of Lake Michigan was zero.  Stated another way, there was no Lake Michigan until very recently in earth's history, and climate change caused it to develop.

Earth's climate has been fluctuating since the beginning, and by that I mean since it formed more than 4 billion years ago.  The Little Ice Age started in the 1300s A.D., that's just yesterday in geological terms, and it lasted for about 500 years.  Longitudinal data shows that today's global warming started in the 1850s following the Little Ice Age, and it had absolutely nothing to do with man-made CO2 emissions.  This information isn't new except to people who don't know the facts. 

The latest National Academies of Science (NAS) report on global warming admits that all we really know for sure is that we are warmer now than we have been during the last 400 years which is mostly made up of the Little Ice Age.  This should be obvious, but obviously it's not: when the earth is coming out of an ice age of any sort, its temperature rises.  But there's more.  Earth's temperature hasn't increased one iota since the 1990s, so we may in fact be in another cooling cycle.

I wrote a novel about this subject titled Stand! hoping to educate Americans so they could avoid the unnecessary costs associated with trying to solve a "problem" that we didn't create and can't influence in any significant way.  Global warming fanatics and others should read the book and put a damper on their unfounded fears.   Some fanatics will, but I'm afraid that most of them won't because they live by this credo: to hell with the facts, I have an opinion.

Ignorance isn't bliss, but it is expensive.  Al Gore, Barack Obama, and people of their ilk may not want to accept the facts since the facts don't line up with their political philosophy, but you, your children, and your grandchildren should.


Neil Snyder is the Ralph A. Beeton Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia.  His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily.