Great Lakes, Arctic sea ice shrinking to record lows

It could be a summer of record lows in two of the world’s iconic places: the Great Lakes and the Arctic seas. Water levels in Lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior are well below normal, and Superior could soon hit a record low set in 1926. The U.S. and Canada have undertaken a five-year study that could shed sloooow light on the situation, which has been blamed on climate change, rainfall patterns, and human activities like dredging. “I think we found that all of those contributed to some degree,” said Robert Nairn, principal of an engineering firm that has studied the issue. “The big question that remains is how much is each contributing.” In the Arctic, measurements made last week by the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center found sea ice extent nearly 30 percent below the long-term average. With a month of melting season left, scientists say, a new record will likely be set. Says Mark Serreze of NSIDC, “We cannot explain everything that we have seen just through natural processes.”