Monday, July 25, 2011

Climate change could affect Lake Superior economy

Katey Rusch in Over the years data has indicated that the temperature of Lake Superior is rising and water levels are lowering. Now a new study shows this could be a trend that negatively affects the area economy. "If you can't get to an ocean you have to get to a great lake," said Kim Colburn-Lidell, who was visiting the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Sunday.

Lake Superior is home to state and national parks as well as vacations. But according to a new study, due to pollution the lake's climate is warming for the worse. "We can't put this off any longer the time is now," said Bayfield Mayor, Larry MacDonald.

The study called the "Great Lakes National Parks in Peril the Threats of Climate Disription" was conducted by two environmental organizations, the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and the National Resources Defense Council. The study indicates that Lake Superior's temperature has risen by 4.5 degrees since the 1976. The study predicts this temperature could rise 14 degrees in this century. This is a scary thought to the Mayor of Bayfield, Wisconsin, whose city tourism depends on lake destinations.

"Our tourism economy is based on the Apostle Islands and the clear water and the clean air," said MacDonald. "If any of that is affected negatively so are we." The other concern about this study for Mayor MacDonald is lowering Lake Superior water levels which according to the study could drop by two feet in the next fifty years.

...The study is based on the impact climate change will have on the Great Lakes National Parks but Mayor MacDonald said the findings of this study should concern all who live on the big lakes, including those affected by the shipping industry. "For every inch the lake goes down the shipping industry is greatly affected," said MacDonald. "Everything is going to cost more to ship."...

The entrance to the harbor at Grand Marais, Cook County, Minnesota, USA, on the north shore of Lake Superior. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed the breakwater at the harbor. US Army Corps of Engineers photo

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