Water temperatures in the Great Lakes

Water temperatures in the Great Lakes have been trending upward for decades, but this summer has brought temperatures near 80 degrees Fahrenheit. (NOAA/GLERL)

You may have missed it in this extreme news year, but climate changes in the north are happening at a record pace: Icy Siberia has seen record-setting 100 degree temperatures; Arctic wildfires are emitting record greenhouse gas emissions; and ice cover in the Arctic hit its lowest level ever recorded in July.

Closer to home, water temperatures in the Great Lakes have been breaking records.

Eric Anderson, a researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, said he’s seen temperatures as high as 78 degrees Fahrenheit in Lake Erie.

“Summer temperatures in the lakes are all trending upward,” he said. “We’ve see warmer water temperatures over roughly the last four decades. It sounds small if I give you the number — typically, it’s around a half a degree per decade — but that’s actually quite a lot of change for these large bodies of water.”

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