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Hydroclimate Synthesis and Summary

Max and Min Great Lakes Water Levels

Frank H. Quinn;
Existing paleo-data, primarily tree ring and beach ridge data, as well as older measurements and climate transposition studies were used to examine extreme high and low lake levels that have likely occurred over the past 1000 years. Extant studies on reconstructions of paleo-data, such as relating tree-ring information with Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) and other extensions of the Great Lakes hydrologic record were also referenced and used to add insight to absolute magnitudes and relative fluctuations of pre-historic lake levels. Information was indexed, to the extent possible, to modern reference points such as modern chart datum levels and recorded historical high and low levels. The analysis implies a wider range in lake levels for each of the upper Great Lakes than is captured in levels recorded since 1860 - an important finding for water resources studies - but relatively recent changes in the basin also require that caution be used in examining such differences.
Max and Min Great Lakes Levels 900-2003 AD
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Main Topics
Hydroclimate Information
Questions We Asked
What impacts could climate variations have on levels?
Assessing Reliability of Historical Data