Thomas Jefferson called Lake George in Upstate New York “without comparison, the most beautiful water I ever saw.” The painter Georgia O’Keefe lived part time at the lake during the 1920s and ’30s, drawing inspiration for some of her laconic, gauzy landscapes. The Whitneys summered there, the Roosevelts, Vanderbilts, Rockefellers — all the big industrialists. It’s still one of New York’s top vacation destinations, bringing in around $1 billion in tourism each year.
If climate change took vacations it would probably go there too. But climate change doesn’t take vacations. In fact, Mark Swinton says it’s kind of hanging out at Lake George all the time, and not in a regular-folk, kick-back-in-an-Adirondack-chair-and-read-a-good-book sorta way.
Swinton is a post-doctorate research associate with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the university’s Darrin Fresh Water Institute. He has seen a dead zone crop up in the lake that appears to be fueled by unsavory algae, runoff tainted with overly rich nutrients, and stagnant circulation caused by oddball weather. It’s an unsettling sig... Read more