Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lake Superior's Giganto Faucet.

Here's an interesting article that underscores the degree to which the Great Lakes are a managed ecosystem:

The International Lake Superior Board of Control, under authority granted to it by the International Joint Commission, has set the Lake Superior outflow to 1,560 cubic metres per second (m3/s) for the month of January, effective Jan. 1. This is the same as the December outflow. This outflow is as prescribed by Plan 1977-A.

One would think talk of water would be inherently un-dry. HA! See that? A pun.'s not true. It stays pretty dry from there on out, talking about how much water is being allowed to flow from Lake Superior into Lake Michigan-Huron.

If you imagine the Great Lakes like this:

A Series__
                 Of Four__
                                                Each pouring water into the next

That's sort of how it works, starting with Lake Superior at the top, like this:

pours into   Michigan-Huron__
pours into                                Erie__
pours into                                           Ontario__

Which pours into the St. Lawrence Seaway and into the ocean.

To keep water levels managed, water flow from Lake Superior can be restricted from flowing into the lakes below. Right now Lake Superior had a lower than usual supply of water coming in from water melt and rain and tributaries, while Lake Michigan-Huron had a higher than usual supply of water coming in from water melt and rain and tributaries. So they're keeping water flow for January the same as it was in December. Whatever that means.

Wacky, no?

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