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Lake levels are unpredictable

Findings indicated that improvements in short-term (two to four weeks) and mid-term (six to 18 months) net basin supply (NBS) and lake level forecasting could improve regulation plan performance. With greater certainty in the Great Lakes components of NBS, improvements can be made to NBS forecasting. During the IUGLS significant efforts were in fact made to improve the accuracy and consistency in estimates of NBS and its components, including modification of existing models, development of new models, collection of new data, and improvement of a range of methodologies that have been used for lake level estimation. Yet despite these best efforts, lake levels currently remain almost entirely unpredictable more than a month ahead. One of the recommendations within the IUGLS’s proposed adaptive management strategy is to improve forecasting capabilities by reducing uncertainty in the components of NBS through improved hydroclimatic monitoring and modelling, but in terms of understanding the lakes system relative to lake levels, the unavoidable conclusion at this time is that the Great Lakes basin is a complex system whose dynamics are only partially understood.
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