Continuous warming of the Great Lakes is becoming worrisome, experts say

KBJR 6 News at 6pm
Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 6:32 PM CST
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) - Researchers at The Natural Resource Research Institute (NRRI) in Duluth said data shows a rise in air temperatures, causing a worrisome increase in water temperatures throughout the Great Lakes.

“The impacts can be quite dramatic and wide-ranging even though the temperature differences are very small,” Lucinda Johnson, Director of Research at NRRI, said.

Research shows the Great Lakes have increased by 0.1 °C every year for the past decade.

Euan Reavie, a Senior Research Association at NRRI, said warmer lake temps could create a more habitable environment for invasive species like zebra mussels, which can threaten ecosystems in the lakes.

“Eventually, you would think this is probably going to affect biology and that when people decide to really care about the situation,” Reavie said.

Reavie said invasive species could change small biological creatures like algae and small invertebrates in lakes.

Reavie said his main worry is that warmer temperatures will allow for more invasive species to grow and take over.

“In this case changing in the physical environment due to warming is very likely to change the habitat in the great lakes,” Reavie said.

NRRI researchers added that water temperatures in Lake Superior are rising three times faster than any other great lake, making the situation dire.

“The climate is changing faster here in this part of the United States than almost anywhere else. We’re in the middle of the continent and up north,” Johnson said.

Experts encourage those living along coastline communities to be proactive in combating climate change.

All efforts to avoid creating irreversible damage that will reach beyond the shores.

Click here for more information about NRRI.

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