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Lake Superior gains astounding 6 trillion gallons in same time Lakes Michigan, Huron lose 7 trillion

Dec 12, 2022 09:51AM ● By Content Editor
Photo: The eastern Keweenaw Peninsula shoreline in Michigan's Upper Peninsula at the Traverse River harbor mouth on Thursday, May 19, 2022. (Drone image by Cory Morse | Cory Morse |

Mark Torregrossa | [email protected] - MLive News - December 10, 2022

Lake Superior’s water level has moved dramatically in the opposite direction from the other four Great Lakes.

The Great Lakes are in the normal seasonal decline. As the air turns colder, precipitation amounts are lower. At the same time, the big temperature difference between near the water surface and higher altitudes creates more evaporation. Lake Superior water levels and the rest of the Great Lakes usually decline from November to December.

This year, Lake Superior declined one inch from November to December. The rule of thumb from Keith Kompoltowicz of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is one inch of water on Lake Superior equals 550 billion gallons of water. Lake Superior lost 550 billions gallons of water then in the last 30 days.

Last week I wrote how Lakes Michigan and Huron actually declined quite a bit for November, losing over 3 trillion gallons of water.

When we look at the bigger picture of water level movement on the Great Lakes, most of the Great Lakes had receding water levels in the past year. This is not the case for Lake Superior.

Lake Superior is now 11 inches higher than this time last year. With the rule of thumb for gallons per inch, Lake Superior now holds around 6 trillion gallons more water than December 2022.

lake superior

Lake levels of Lake Superior

The lake level graph for Lakes Michigan and Lake Huron looks much different. Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are nine inches lower than December 2021. This represents a decrease of 7 trillion gallons of water over the past year.

While the rest of the Great Lakes are falling, Lake Superior is rising.

The reason is simple, according to Kompoltowicz. Lake Superior’s drainage basin had above normal amounts of precipitation while Lake Michigan and Lake Huron had less precipitation than normal.

great lakes

The chart above shows Lake Superior’s basin had one inch more rain than normal for November. Over the past year, Lake Superior has had 100 percent of its average precipitation. At the same time, Lakes Michigan and Huron had only 70 percent of average rainfall. In the past 12 months Lake Michigan and Lake Huron only received 88 percent of normal precipitation.

To read this original story and more news, follow this link to the MLive News website.

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