Uncertainty floods the future of Great Lakes’ water quality, quantity

Capital News Service
LANSING — For climate change experts, it’s a world of “ifs” when trying to predict what will happen to the waters of the Great Lakes — including a surge of algae blooms.
And while there are some educated guesses out there, not much can be said for certain. “One thing that we do know about projections for the future is all of them, and there are no exceptions, all of them call for warmer mean temperatures,” said Jeffrey Andresen, Michigan’s state climatologist and a geography professor at Michigan State University. Now there’s a lot to take away from warmer mean temperatures projections, but again, few things are certain. Unlike the ocean’s sea levels rising due to melting ice caps, Great Lakes water levels could be lower. Warmer winters mean less ice cover.

What to expect from climate change

Capital News Service
LANSING — The planet got hot, fast. Each of the last three years set records in terms of mean global temperature over the past 150 years. On average, the Great Lakes region is 2 two degrees warmer than it was in 1912, according to the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences Assessment, which is produced by the University of Michigan and Michigan State University. By 2100, average temperatures could increase by 11 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s rare, but the planet’s overall climate has changed rapidly in the past.

Stay away from algae decay

Capital News Service
LANSING — As if you needed another reason not to play with stinky piles of algae: Decaying algae can promote the growth of bacteria that could make people and animals sick, according to recent research. Scientists tracked the changes in bacterial communities while Cladophora algae decays. Bacteria harmful to humans and wildlife were among the many microbes they found, according to their study published in the journal Science of the Total Environment. It is possible when people come in contact with the algae or water around it, they may be exposed to harmful bacteria, said Murulee Byappanahalli, a microbiologist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Great Lakes Science Center and one of the authors of the study. No solid cause-and-effect evidence links human illness to Cladophora, as those types of studies are difficult to conduct, Byappanahalli said.