Two Great Lakes Hit Record Low Levels: Climate Crisis or Natural Cycle?

"The science is maybe a little early to fully understand fluctuations in order to fully identify climate change as a driver of this drop, but there is evidence of climate change over the last thirty or forty years that would lead you to expect these water level drops to occur," Dr. Allan says.

Because not enough is known to predict where water levels will go from here, the Corps has not yet taken action to stop them from dropping. Mr. Kompoltowicz of the Corps told the Associated Press that funding was limited and that nothing would be considered until 2015. Allan says it is unlikely the Corps will launch an expensive and long-term project without the certainty of a forecast.

"You could put in water control structures at the St. Clair and hold back more water for Michigan and Huron, but there are downstream consequences if the water level drop is a natural one and water gets back up four or five feet higher than it is now," Allan said. "So if you can't conclude water levels are going to be low forever, you're not going to put in an expensive engineering project that would take a very long time."

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