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Great Lakes Article:

'Climate Change and the Waters of Wisconsin' topic tonight at University of Wisconsin Superior
Business North
Published June 7, 2007

Climate change is rapidly warming Lake Superior and other Wisconsin waters.

The loss of lake ice is the canary in the mine.

These will be the topics tonight at 7 p.m.

in the Kathryn Ohman Theatre, Room 114, McCaskill Hall, on the UW-Superior campus. Free parking is available after 4:30 p.m. in Lot 11, located behind the Rothwell Student Center.

John Magnuson, Professor Emeritus at UW-Madison, spent a decade building a database of ice records from all over the world, and it is now one of the largest and longest records of observable climate data ever assembled. Here in Wisconsin, these records show that over the last 30 years the duration of ice cover on Dane County’s Lake Mendota decreased 8.6 days per decade.

According to Magnuson, shorter periods of ice cover can increase evaporation, which would contribute to lower water levels on the Great Lakes and elsewhere. He says that the “typical” Wisconsin winter is disappearing, along with the recreational activities and businesses that depend on it.

Magnuson also notes that warmer waters will affect fish that only live within specific temperature ranges. Streams and shallow lakes are likely to have reductions of coldwater and cool water habitat. And while the Great Lakes will continue to provide cold, oxygenated habitats for trout and salmon, he said many new species will invade to occupy the warmer inshore waters.

Magnuson’s lecture is part of the 2007 seminar series “Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region: Starting a Public Discussion,” sponsored by the UW Sea Grant Institute and UW-Extension and funded by the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. See www.seagrant.wisc.edu/climatechange for details and updates.

For More Information:

Gene Clark, Coastal Engineering Specialist, UW Sea Grant Institute, (715) 394-8472

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