Issues & Insights

Great Lakes Reveal a Fatal Flaw in Climate Change ‘Science’

I & I Editorial

Lake Erie and Lake Superior — two of the five that make up the Great Lakes — broke records for water levels this May. Lakes Michigan and Huron could follow suit.

Naturally, climate change is getting the blame. “We are undoubtedly observing the effects of a warming climate in the Great Lakes,” says Richard Rood, a University of Michigan climate scientist. 

But just a few years ago, climate scientists were insisting that a warming climate would cause water levels to decline

In 2008, Science Daily reported on a study that attributed the decline in Great Lakes water levels to global warming. The researchers who conducted the study said that the drop “raised concern because the declines are consistent with many climate change predictions.”

In 2009, Columbia University’s Earth Institute informed us that “most climate models suggest that we may see declines in lake levels over the next 100 years; one suggests that we may see declines of up to 8.2 feet.”

In 2011, the Union of Concern Scientists said that “scientists expect water levels in the Great Lakes to drop in both summer and winter, with the greatest declines occurring in Lakes Huron and Michigan.”

In 2013, the Natural Resources Defense Council said that “it’s no secret that, partially due to climate change, the water levels in the Great Lakes are getting very low.”

That same year, Think Progress reported that “Several different climate models for the Great Lakes region all predict that lake levels will decline over the next century.” 

Since the Great Lakes account for 21% of the world’s surface fresh water, these stories were all wrapped in doom-and-gloom scenarios about the impact on drinking water, shipping, recreation, and so on.

The very next year, however, water levels started rising. 

So what are scientists saying now? Simple. They’re now claiming that the fall and rise of Great Lakes’ water levels are due to climate change. 

“Climate change is driving rapid shifts between high and low water levels on the Great Lakes,” is the new “consensus.” 

The truth, of course, is that water levels in the Great Lakes vary over time. And, as a matter of fact, they varied far more in the past than they do now. A U.S. Geological Survey notes that “prehistoric levels exceed modern-day fluctuations.”

It says that “Prehistoric variations in lake levels have exceeded by as much as a factor of 2 (that is, more than 3 meters) the 1.6-meter fluctuation that spanned the 1964 low level and the 1985-87 high level.” 

And, as anyone who’s ever lived near the Great Lakes knows, the lakes themselves were formed in the wake a massive change in the earth’s climate — when the glaciers receded at the end of the Ice Age roughly 14,000 years ago.

So if the lakes’ huge fluctuations in the past weren’t caused by mankind’s burning fossil fuels, why are scientists so convinced that the far more minor changes happening today are?

The reason is simple. Climate scientists can blame anything they want on global warming. The climate models are imprecise enough that no matter what is happening they can point to it as proof that man-made climate change is happening. Too much rain, too little rain, bitterly cold winters, mild winters, more snow, less snow, rising water levels, falling water levels — they can attribute “climate change” as a cause of it all.

But if nothing can disprove a theory, and every event, no matter how contradictory, is proof that the theory is valid, is that really science? Sounds more like a religion to us.

— Written by John Merline

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I & I Editorial Board

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  • As they say, those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it.

    The same could be said about the changing climate. Even in my short lifetime, 60 years, the weather/climate has gone through cycles of warmer and cooler weather,which obviously coincide with dryer and wetter weather.

    Snow is a thing of the past. Ha!

  • The radical politicalization of science (including the selective dispersing of grants), has done one thing, insure “science” is no longer to be trusted.

  • Climate radicals are stupid. Funny thing is they think we are also!

  • Anyone can develop an opinion, but you shouldn’t promote your opinion as a journalist if it isn’t based in fact. The climate crisis is happening, and billions of people worldwide are and will continue to be affected. Don’t represent science as hysteria.

    • You’ve re-proven the Mamet Principle already and it’s not even noon! I see you’re right up to date with your “climate crisis” usage.

    • I’m in Michigan. There is no crisis, except in the newspapers you read.

    • If there was not climate change, it would be a first in the history of the earth. The Earth’s climate changed way before man showed up. It is foolish to think that Climate change is caused by men. It is also very arrogant.

    • The problem is the climate “scientists” create computer models that attempt to validate their opinions as facts. But there’s still no proof after all these years. Can’t validate the modeling. Ice core samples contradict the narrative. NASA science doesn’t agree with climatologist’s data. The physical properties of greenhouse gasses don’t support the theory of their effect on the atmosphere. etc.

      • There is however, evidence that global temperatures have increased over the course of history, with the only plausible explanation being greenhouse gas emissions (methane). Scientists have ruled out many other possible causes, and there are many economically and scientifically accurate graphs available in scientific journals to prove it. These climate changes will not be noticeable in one lifetime. By the time all of the Baby Boomers are dead, the younger generations will be first seeing the beginning effects of climate change on our agriculture, water levels, wildlife, and weather patterns. I understand that at this point in our scientific knowledge there is evidence for both sides. However, I would prefer to err on the side of caution and ensure that I am doing my part to protect the environment and protect the lives of my future family and planet.

    • Don’t promote your opinion as fact says the person, whose opinion it is, to not promote your opinion as fact

    • The Great Lakes exist because of climate change. They used to be glaciers. They melted with the entirely natural warming that has been ongoing since the end of the last ice age.

      How is that a crisis? Billions of people have benefitted from the warmer weather. 😉

    • I’m sure you are in favor of the current move toward zero carbon (CO2) emissions. You can do your part by ceasing your individual contributions. Stop driving, heating and cooling your home/apartment, traveling, using anything with plastic content, heating or cooling food, consuming any food you haven’t raised in your garden without power equipment, etc.. I’m sure there are other things you do which contribute CO2 to the atmosphere. Even when you stop breathing your body will produce CO2 in decomposition.

      • Can you imagine the amount of carbon dioxide released with the number of beer cans opened on Super Bowl Sunday? Also, almost any weekend evening during the year, countless cans of beer (especially) and soda pop will release small but additive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.

    • It’s the media and politicians that are creating the hysteria. The real scientists understand that the earth’s climate always has and always will be changing and that it’s too complex to even remotely model accurately (even the UN’s council admits this).

      Now that the sun has entered into a period of solar minimum, as predicted, let’s see what effect that has. Also, why is the temperature data, which by admission we know is manipulated, always adjusted up? It’s kind of like when there’s a close election, there’s always more votes “found” that are for Democrats. Crazy.

      It’s actually arrogant to assume that we live in the one period of time in earth’s history that the climate should be, or would be perfectly stable.

    • When the world’s politicians and scientists start talking about real science in relation to climate we will all break out in cheering. Until the hysteria actually goes away though, mockery and confrontation with the real science are both appropriate responses.

  • There is still skiing in CO, and frozen lakes in the Sierra. My prediction: glaciers will begin growing.

  • I have researched Dr. Rood’s vitae and associated remarks. Indeed, he misuses his position to fan the flames of distrust in weather models. At 68 years of age, I have witnessed climate oscillation (my term) in the Great Lakes watershed. Though Dr. Rood would probably call my observations anecdotal, they are still based on decades of weather pattern awareness. He does much damage to science by ignoring empirical process. My grandfather’s “Native American Weather Stone” is still more accurate than climate change evangelicals.

    Dr. Rood:

    • You have indeed witnessed weather, as have I in my mid-70s. Before the Seaway opened the lake levels in Ontario were higher than after (man does have impact on lake levels). The flooding in Ontario in 2017 and again this year have been the result of weather, specifically precipitation, both frozen and not. But weather isn’t the same thing as climate. Some of the same people who today are touting global warming/climate change were, in the 1970s touting global cooling and the coming of a new Ice Age (we are working toward one, the cycle of warming and cooling has happened before and will again), Most of those who weren’t predicting global cooling in the ’70s fall into the “didn’t have a degree in the 70s” category.

  • Real science and solar observation is indicating a Grand Solar Minimum is incoming…
    Don’t Worry, I’m sure the Government has a plan to take care of that , Just Send Money.
    Where We Go One We Go All

    • Coordinating with NASA, the new plan is to take a few trillion dollars, pack it in rockets and shoot them into the Sun to increase the heat!

      Its entirely green; all the carbon tied up in those dollars will become plasma.

      Extra Bonus! Because the actual cash would be sent, CongressCritters would have no opportunity to loot the money to enrich family, friends and themselves.

      [02/23/20 Leftist Democrats and RINOs band together to bury an Amendment to the previously passed “Poke Up The Fire” Act deep within an appropriations Bill for V.A. Hospitals, switching the cash payload for digital currency./s]

    • Russell: I believe that the upcoming Grand Solar Minimum is being intentionally brought on by the carbon-tax. 😉

  • Lakes Michigan and Huron lost water when the Army Corps of Engineers dredged a bit too deeply in the shipping canal in the St. Claire River. The water accelerated its flow and dug the channel even deeper and it began draining the two lakes. Finally, after more than a decade of denials, the Corps admitted that it “played some role” and began filling the channel in to the proper level. The flow slowed and Mother Nature did the rest to restore the levels.

  • CO2 is not a problem. It is a trace gas necessary for plant life.
    Compare CO2 to another greenhouse gas, water vapor.
    CO2 – 400 ppm 1 molecule in 2500 of air
    Water vapor – 25,000 ppm 1 molecule in 40 of air.

  • OK then, the stability of the Great Lakes is caused by climate change and is going to result in the deaths of all underprivileged parts of society.

    • Yes, it’s the old leftist favorite “meteor strikes NY, women and minorities hardest hit”.

  • When we bought our property on Lake MI, it was near it’s all time low and the “experts” including several of our friends solemnly intoned that the lake “will never come back”. As predicted they are all now saying our property will be destroyed by high water marks. These are, of course, people who have never lived near a large and volitile body of water.

  • Whenever the global warming alarmists find something that defies their previous predictions, they embrace it and claim it also is caused by global warming. These are the only “scientists” who have ever claimed that direct opposite observations are proof their initial prediction still holds. Global warming can both increase water levels and lower them at the same time. It is magic, I tell you, magic.

    • AGW – Brought to you by the same people who swear there are 68 “genders”. lol

  • warmer: climate change.
    colder: climate change
    wetter: climate change
    drier: climate change

    Climate Change: Is There ANYTHING it CAN’T Do?

  • When there is literally nothing that the atmosphere/hydrosphere could do that would not provide evidence for global-whatever-they’re-calling-it-this-week, i.e., no evidence that could falsify the theory, then the theory is clearly in the realm of religion, not science.

    In order to be a proper theory within the scientific method, it must make predictions which can be compared with observational and/or experimental evidence. Computer simulations do not constitute such, BTW. At best, one can say about a scientific theory (as opposed to an article of religious faith) is that is has, so far, survived contact with the evidence.

    Note that a theory’s predictions not matching the evidence is not necessarily proof that the theory needs to be discarded– less severe mismatches indicate may indicate that some tinkering is needed.

  • “Climate Change to Destroy Civilization. Women, Minorities Hardest Hit.”

  • “Ottmar Edenhofer, lead author of the IPCC’s fourth summary report released in 2007 candidly expressed the priority. Speaking in 2010, he advised, “One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. Instead, climate change policy is about how we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth.”


    • Christiana Figuerres from that same organization made a very similar statement just a bit before Edenhofer, stating the need to roll back 150 years of western capitalism and distribute the wealth to third world countries (instead of encouraging their financial independence from socialist doctrine and destitution)!
      Prime Minister Trudeau has been very busy redistributing ourvwealth at rocket speed.

  • Ottmar Edenhofer, lead author of the IPCC’s fourth summary report released in 2007 candidly expressed the priority. Speaking in 2010, he advised, “One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. Instead, climate change policy is about how we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth.”

  • If climatistas don’t discover massive man-made climate change, how are they going to continue getting grants?

    • So far, they’ve tried doubling down, tripling down, and so on; it actually seems to be working quite well as I’ve noticed when talking to stupid people…

  • Ocean sea and lake levels or shore lines can be affected by ice age rebound or isostatic rebound river flows can also reverse due to the Earth’s crust rising or subsiding through natural forces some subsidence is man-made eg.pumping groundwater ,oil ,mining.the Baltic sea region is rising up about 10 millimetres per year these forces are beyond man’s control other than responding and adapting to change .

    • Indeed. The former lake shores of Ontario are fairly clear on the Canadian side of the lake, the result of “glacial rebound” – the uplift as the Earth recovered from the weight of about 2 km of ice compressing the area.

  • Climate change is natural. Overpopulation is man made.
    Maybe the earth has shifted its rotation..Everyone wants everything.
    Not Possible.

  • There is, I am told, a strong undercurrrent of feeling among Liberal MP’s that the time has come to ask Trudeau to resign. His embarassing India trip, his government’s failure to negotiate a strong deal for Canada in NAFTA, the failures regarding Trans mountain and energy east pipelines, and his stunningly harsh treatment of female MP’s have tuned his supporters against him.
    He is, truly, unsuited for employment in such a high profile position. Other heads of government are serious players. Trudeau is a narcissistic self- promoter with no more character than an alley cat.

  • This is why you can’t have an intelligent conversation with these climate zealots. If everything is caused by so-called climate change, what I like to call Globaloney, then discussion is moot. It’s the game they play.

  • There is another flaw in this “science” that many “journalists” ignore: A significant portion of data that climate modelers rely on to establish historic patterns is based on local observations. Most of that information is less than 150 years old. ALL of that data was collected using the measuring tools available at the time, many of which were wildly inaccurate. When you begin patterning temperature fluctuations and make predictions to the 1/100th of a degree, the variance of the baseline must be just as razor thin. In this case it clearly is not.

  • I few years ago we had an extremely wet winter and spring and it used that as evidence global warming was a hoax. What followed was four months of high heat and devastingly dry weather, Michigan’s ag was declared a complete loss. One or two seasons doesn’t make a trend. You have to follow the weather for years, decades and centuries to see long term trends.

  • The Great Lakes were created by climate change, brought on by the earth’s “procession.” The earth doesn’t seemed to have cooled down enough for an ice age to happen in this cycle. Explain how that isn’t global warming?

  • here is the most salient scientific observation i found evidence of while reading the article and the 51 comments posted herein: practically the entire group of commenters needs to go back to school and actually learn something factual about this topic they obviously enjoy discussing. i have never read so many uninformed opinions masquerading as some sort of lame ‘truthiness.’

    • We can’t all be as smart and awesome as you so why don’t you explain to us why lowering lake levels and rising lake levels are both due to Global Warming?

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