When natural patterns begin to shift, one of the hardest things to do as human onlookers is determine the cause of the shift. The Great Lakes fall in this category of continuous dispute: as one of the largest sources of freshwater on the planet, their importance is of little doubt, but their stability is another story. A recent controversy has arisen surrounding these Lakes due to a study by The International Joint Commission, which emphasized their rapidly declining levels and attempted to elucidate a cause. The Lakes, however, are rising once again, this time exceeding their previous highs and drowning out any conspiracy theorists in the process.
Among those being blamed for the supposedly permanent decrease in Great Lakes water levels was the Army Corps of Engineers, whose 1960s dredging project was believed to have caused a lowering of the St. Clair River bottom. This river, which connects Lake Michigan and Huron, would in turn have caused a lowering of the two Lakes. After spending $3.6 million on a study whose findings were released before the report was independently reviewed by external authorities, the International Joint Commission cleared the Army Corps of this allegation, leaving the global warming faction to fill the hole left behind.
Before they could take a swing, Lakes Erie and Ontario exceeded their long-term average just a month after the study was published (Chicago Sun-Times), leaving individuals on all sides of the controversy to wonder about the effectiveness of human speculation. Still in the process of determining whether or not the May-released Joint Commission study held any validity, the parties on all sides of the Great Lakes controversy were faced, at the beginning of July, with the possibility that the only controversy was whether or not our actions truly influenced the levels of the Great Lakes to a paramount degree. Some even went as far as to say that the current cap-and-trade initiatives are nothing more than a means to destroy jobs and waste much-needed money.
In the end, what does it all mean: global warming, global cooling, or just over-analysis?