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What was conceived as a documentary about ferries and shipping on the Great Lakes became something else. The movie is packed with history and information about the role of these vast inland seas in the industrial development of North America. For director and producer William Kleinert, the dramatic drop in lake levels was the most surprising discovery. The imagery, insights, and observations about the changes underway are rich in detail and could stand alone as an equally compelling story. Experts Henry Pollack, a University of Michigan professor and contributing author to the Nobel Prize-winning IPCC climate change report, and Marie Colton, former director of NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab (GLERL), bring a scientific perspective to the story, describing the ecological impacts of climate change. While watching the movie, I realized how rapidly our understanding of the science is advancing. As described in a previous post on the impacts of climate change on the Great Lakes, the dynamics are more complex than what is portrayed in the film, but the basic conclusion is the same. PROJECT: ICE is a must-see for anyone who loves the Great Lakes or wants to learn more about the impacts of climate change. The lake has been at below average levels for more than a decade, and if it were fluctuating as it has in the past, the lake would have already experienced high levels again, such as the 1970s event you describe.
The effects of climate change go beyond water levels to include impacts to the overall ecological health of the lake, fisheries and even contributing to nuisance algae blooms.
Having grown up in Michigan and having seen frozen waves on Lake Superior many, many years ago, PROJECT: ICE is a timely portrayal of the direct and real effects of climate change and needs to be seen by a wide audience. Water CurrentsThe goal of Water Currents is to bring together diverse voices to discuss pressing issues in freshwater. Help Save the Colorado RiverBy promising to conserve water you can help restore freshwater ecosystems. Some 170,000 have already cut their water footprint, and, with conservation partners, Change the Course has restored more than 4 billion gallons to the Colorado River Basin. Perspective: What Will Happen When the Aquifers Run Dry?If you think the water crisis can't get worse, wait until the aquifers are drained.


The might Colorado, the life and soul of the West, is one of the most tapped rivers in the world. During filming, the film crew realized there was a bigger story about how climate change affects the lives and livelihoods of people living in the region. It delves into the history of the railcar ferries at the Straits of Mackinac and documents the importance of ice in the lives of people living around the Great Lakes, including commercial fisherman on Lake Superior, recreational ice fishers, pond hockey players, ice climbers, Native American Ojibwe, and Mackinac Islanders. Filming and production took place over a 27-month period, beginning in 2011 and ending in early 2013. We were standing on the ice, and the docks were over our heads at three to five feet above the normal ice level,” Kleinert said. It’s almost like having two films rolled into one, but much of the historical background does provide an important backdrop to the modern-day challenges associated with the loss of ice on the Great Lakes. In the past two years, scientists have learned a great deal about the interactions among evaporation, ice cover, and water temperature. It was a reminder of how important ice is to the way of life and overall health of the lakes.
Sloan Foundation and will be shown along with a science lecture in Ann Arbor later this year. With her husband, she co-founded LakeNet, a world lakes network, and co-wrote a sailing guide called “The Black Sea” based on their voyage around the sea in 2010. Kleinert knows that the water levels now are reflective of the water levels in the early 60s? If you have a chance to see the movie, you will understand that Bill Kleinert and his film crew have a firm grasp of the history of the Great Lakes, including water levels. At the very least, the period of time between low and high lake levels has changed in recent decades. Invasive species, pollution and water extraction are important issues as well, but so is the concern for climate change and its effects on the Great Lakes. We are particularly interested in water consumption, locally and globally, and restoration and conservation of freshwater ecosystems.


For every pledge, Change the Course will restore 1,000 gallons back to the Colorado River. The water the dinosaurs drank millions of years ago is the same water that falls as rain today.
The lack of ice in recent years was a “depressing” realization for him while working on the film.
Less ice cover does usually result in warmer water temperatures the following summer and higher evaporation rates in the fall. It has been submitted to film festivals, and a limited release is expected by the end of the year. A native of the Great Lakes region, she served as coordinator of the Lake Champlain Basin Program in the 1990s. Because of the natural variation in water levels and the many factors involved, it’s more difficult to attribute the low levels seen in 2012-13 to climate change. All of these things interact in ways that require an integrated approach to finding solutions. As explained in my reply to Keen, one of the biggest concerns is a longer-term trend of below average lake levels for more than a decade. They and others are very concerned about the 71 percent decline in ice cover on the Great Lakes over the past 40 years. High rates of evaporation combined with low rainfall were the main causes, but because evaporation is invisible for the most part, it doesn’t always come to mind as being an important issue.



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