Getting Warmer on Climate Predictions, Surface Temperatures

For Friday, Dec. 2, 2016

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/qf7mohqej0lpjhf/ENV%20REPORT%2012-2-16%20mrgreatlakes.mp3]

1  – The Great Lakes are part of one climate system, although they differ greatly from one another.

great lakes model nayuki

Credit: Nayuki

A new integrated computer model brings together climate and water information for the Great Lakes region. It will be useful for climate predictions, dealing with invasive species and other environmental research.

Michigan Technological University helped develop the model, along with the federal Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab in Ann Arbor, and other organizations.

A researcher says knowing the warming trend is an important concept in climate change modeling, along with understanding that extreme events become more severe.

The new model will help researchers better understand the connection between air and water in the Great Lakes.

The model’s accuracy was vetted by comparing its simulations to historical records and satellite data.

2 – The temperatures of the Great Lakes were the warmest in six years for late November.

Surface temperatures in November 2016 were several degrees warmer than at the same time two years ago.

Data for Saginaw Bay shows temperatures in the 40s and 50s for Nov. 30.

With winter on its way, warm lake waters and cold winds blowing across them will be a perfect combination for lake-effect snow, according to officials with the federal Coastwatch program.

The last time the lakes were this warm, in November of 2010, lake surfaces remained mostly ice free for the entire winter.

– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkarton Twitter #MrGreatLakes

 

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National Spotlight for Saginaw Bay Restoration, National Ban for 11 Invasives

For Friday, Nov. 25, 2016 –


1 – Wetland restoration in Saginaw Bay is highlighted in a national report.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration points to seven partnerships in the U.S. that have helped safeguard natural resources.

The agency says the partnerships demonstrate the benefits of using conservation approaches to address climate change and other issues.

Saginaw Bay is listed alongside areas in California, the Rocky Mountains and Hawaii.

 

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Lake Huron shoreline, Tawas Point, Michigan. Credit: NOAA

 

Our area is singled out for development of a coastal wetland decision support tool.

The tool helps identify and prioritize restoration activities for existing and historical coastal wetlands.

The national project is called the Resilient Lands and Waters Initiative. It supports a U.S. strategy to build and maintain an ecologically connected network of coastal and other conservation areas that are likely to be resilient to climate change and support a broad range of fish, wildlife and plants.

2 – Eleven freshwater species have been added to a federal ban list.

The Nature Conservancy says the move by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service bans trade or import into the United States, and was determined by examining damage caused in other waters.

The list includes 10 fish species such as the Crucian carp and Eurasian minnow along with the the Yabby crayfish.

The Conservancy says these nonnative invasives aren’t currently part of trade or import, but have been determined through a risk assessment process to have a high climate match. That means, if they’re released here, they could thrive within the Great Lakes basin.

Conservancy officials say past practice has been to prohibit a species only after it’s been established in the U.S. and is causing damage. The group says this proactive assessment and restriction by the Fish and Wildlife Service is an important step forward.

Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR. Follow @jeffkart on Twitter #MrGreatLakes

Share Your Stories at The Great Flood of 1986 Website (Interview)

For Friday, Sept. 16, 2016 –

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/g6ua4wt47i0q974/great-flood-1986-website-mrgreatlakes-9-16-2016.mp3]

1 – Michigan Sea Grant, Michigan State University and the Bay County Historical Society have launched a new website, 30 years later.

The website at 1986Flood.com was developed as part of a project to collect and preserve stories from Michigan’s Great Flood of 1986.

great-flood-1986-website-michigan

Residents who lived through the storm can submit stories, memories, and photographs to be featured on the site and entered into the permanent archives at the Historical Museum of Bay County.

The project is hosting events for people to share their memories in person with historians and get their photos scanned for preservation.

The first event was Thursday, Sept. 15, in Bay City.

The second event is Tuesday, Sept. 27, from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Chippewa Nature Center in Midland.

The 30th anniversary of storm occurred this past weekend. Project organizers say it should remind us of the importance of preparing for extreme storm events at the individual and community level.

Two simple actions you can take to prepare for future floods include having a plan, and building an emergency kit.

You can find more information on preparing for future floods and links to local and national flood preparedness resources at 1986Flood.com.

2 – Remembering the 30th anniversary of the flood of 1986 is part of a larger project for Michigan State University Extension.

Katy Hintzen, with the Bay County Extension office, says an $80,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is being used to improve resilency in the Saginaw Bay watershed.

Monarch Butterfly Count, Beach Debris Grants

For Friday, Aug. 28, 2015

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/91xhoxgnhd5ib9r/mr-great-lakes-8-28-15.mp3]

1 – The federal government is offering money to clean up beaches and waterways.

bowling ball marine beach debris

Credit: NOAA

The Marine Debris Program, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is seeking proposals for community-based marine debris removal projects until Nov. 2. Great Lakes organizations are encouraged to apply.

Up to $2 million is expected to be available for projects across the U.S. Typical awards will range from $50,000 to $150,000.

The program is for the removal of old fishing gear and other debris that have a negative impact on resources and habitat in or along the oceans and the Great Lakes.

Previous awards have gone to the city of Cleveland, to reduce plastic marine debris in Lake Erie, including grocery bags, water bottles and cigar tips

To apply

2 – Populations of monarch butterflies are at critically low levels across the United States.

monarch milkweed butterfly habitat

Credit: USFWS

Only eight monarch butterflies were counted this year at the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge in Saginaw County.

That’s the second-lowest total ever recorded. The average is about 100. The highest count was 189 monarchs in 2007.

This year’s count was the eighth annual, and conducted in July. The count was one of hundreds coordinated by the North American Butterfly Association in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Monarch numbers have declined across the United States by about 90 percent in recent years. That’s from threats including a loss of milkweed habitat due to agricultural practices. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service launched a campaign earlier this year aimed at saving the butterfly.

Monarchs travel thousands of miles over many generations from Mexico, across the United States, and into Canada.

Save the Monarch

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– Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

Follow @jeffkart on Twitter

The Detroit Lions Won’t Win the Great Lakes Bowl, But Water Levels Will Flood Beaches

For Friday, Nov. 28, 2014

[audio https://dl.dropbox.com/s/xvn0qcgss4o9ezp/11-28-2014-mrgreatlakes.mp3]

1 – Registration is open for Great Lakes Bowl.

The Great Lakes Bowl is part of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, an academic competition where teams of high school students compete for the regional and national title.

The matches feature quiz-bowl style rounds and challenge questions that test a team’s ocean and Great Lakes knowledge.

The questions focus on math and science related to biology, chemistry, geology, physics, technology, history and economics.

Regional competitions are held throughout the nation in February and March.

The next Great Lakes Bowl is set for Feb. 7 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The national competition is in April in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

The Great Lakes Bowl will award cash, trophies, medals and other prizes to top finishers.

There’s a limit of 16 teams, approved on a first-come, first-served basis. The deadline is Dec. 19.

The last bowl featured schools from around the state, including Standish-Sterling Central High School in Standish. The first-place trophy went to a team from Greenhills School in Ann Arbor, which placed sixth nationally. The national champions were from Boise High School in Idaho.


2 – How will lake level changes affect a shoreline? You can see visualizations for the Saginaw Bay area and other parts of Michigan using a Lake Level Viewer from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

pinconning great lakes water levels noaa viewer

High water levels in Pinconning, Michigan. Via the Lake Level Viewer.

The tool is intended to help communities along the U.S. Great Lakes plan for, and adapt to, climate change and changes in lake water levels.

You can use it to zoom in on places like Pinconning, and see how the area would be affected by changes in water levels.

You can compare the levels ranging from zero to six feet above and below average lake level.

The amount of  beach and other land under water quickly changes depending on the levels you choose.

More than 4,900 miles of U.S. shoreline ring the Great Lakes, of which 3,800 miles are currently mapped on the Lake Level Viewer.

The tool also covers areas in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

— Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

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Climate Action for Michigan, a Response to Great Lakes Debris

For June 12, 2014

 

1- How does a proposed federal Climate Action Plan affect Michigan?

michigan power plants

The location of fossil fuel fired power covered by the proposed Clean Power Plan.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed a related Clean Power Plan to curb pollution from power plants. The plan would help cut carbon emissions from the power sector by 30 percent below 2005 levels.

According to an EPA analysis, the proposal would require Michigan to develop a plan to lower its carbon pollution to meet a carbon dioxide emission rate goal of 1,161 pounds per megawatt hour.

Right now, Michigan’s power sector emits about 535 more pounds per megawatt hour. The Midland Gogeneration Venture and the J.C. Weadock plant in Bay County would both be covered by the rule.

Michigan would be able to choose how to meet the goal through various measures.

Strategies include efficiency programs, improving power plant operations, and renewable energy standards. Michigan’s current renewable energy standard of 10 percent expires in 2015.

Power plants are the largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S. About half of Michigan’s energy comes from coal.

 

2 – Just in time for the summer, there’s an action plan for addressing debris in the Great Lakes.

We’re talking about plastics and litter, abandoned vessels, and old fishing gear.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released a first-of-its-kind Great Lakes Land-based Marine Debris Action Plan.

The Plan focuses on debris generated on land, which is often blown, swept, or washed out into the lakes.

The action part involves work that partners will undertake in the next five years, through 2019.

One objective is to remove 200 tons of land-based marine debris from Great Lakes environments.

Backers say there’s a role for everyone in the plan, from the citizen who picks up litter from beaches and watersheds; to organizations that support a wide range of activities like cleanup, research, education, and outreach.

— Mr. Great Lakes is heard at 9 a.m. Fridays in Bay City, Michigan, on Delta College Q-90.1 FM NPR.

 

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