WMU News

Dry times, low lake levels

July 16, 1999

KALAMAZOO -- If it looks like there's more shoreline than usual at your favorite swimming hole this year, you're right. Area lakes are at their lowest level since record-setting 1964, and expanding shorelines could become a common sight if predictions of global warming come true, says David Barnes, a WMU associate professor of geosciences.

"We're currently in the midst of a big, global change controversy," Barnes says, "and if you don't know the words global change you ought to because we all should be aware of the fact that human activities are potentially changing climatic conditions. Predictions for our region are for drier, warming climatic conditions and that spells lower lake levels. So we could well be heading, as a result of human induced global warming, into periods of rather dramatically lower lake levels."

Barnes says soggy 1986 set a record for high lake levels and that above average levels continued throughout much of the '90s. But levels started dropping in April 1998 and are now at their lowest in 25 years.

Media contact: Barnes can be reached at his office at 616 387-5493., or contact Mark Schwerin in the Office of University Relations, 616 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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