St. Joseph Lighthouse & Water Levels

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St. Joseph Lighthouse & Water Levels

Unread postby Saturnalia » Sat Feb 16, 2013 2:58 pm

http://fast1.onesite.com/participate.wo ... g?v=239400

Check out this amazing picture of the lighthouse @ St. Joesph.

Also, here is the Water Level Reports. Coming back up!

Bill Steffen @ WOODTV8.com wrote:Much of Michigan and E. Wisconsin has had above average precipitation over the past 2 1/2 months. Here’s precipitation surpluses since Dec. 1: Grand Rapids +2.93″, Muskegon +4.94″, Lansing +1.91″, Houghton Lake +3.84″, Alpena +2.41″, Green Bay +2.97″, Milwaukee +3.74″, Marquette +0.55″. Runoff into Lake Michigan has been above average flow. We’re seeing an effect on the water level. Lake Michigan (and Lake Huron – they’re at the same water level, connected at the Mac. Bridge) is up 2″ in the last month and is now 1″ higher than it was in Feb. 1964 (the low water year). The lake is down 13″ year-to-year (that was 17″ at one point) and 26″ below the century average. Lake Superior is now 2″ higher than it was one year ago and remains 12″ below average. Lake Erie is unchanged in the last month and 5″ below the century average. Lake Ontario is UP 6″ in the last month (quite a climb for mid-winter) and is 3″ below the century average. We’ll likely see above average precipitation again in the next week. Thanks to Jack Martin for the picture of the St. Joseph Lighthouse, sent in to us on ReportIt. Take a look at Jack’s picture full screen.
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Re: St. Joseph Lighthouse & Water Levels

Unread postby J T » Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:22 pm

MQT3001 wrote:Check out this amazing picture of the lighthouse @ St. Joesph.

Not bad for an amateur. :)
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Re: St. Joseph Lighthouse & Water Levels

Unread postby GLC 392 » Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:25 pm

I think it is kind of funny, they say the water level is up but Lake Michigan and Huron just hit their lowest levels ever.
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Re: St. Joseph Lighthouse & Water Levels

Unread postby Saturnalia » Sat Feb 16, 2013 3:56 pm

GLC 392 wrote:I think it is kind of funny, they say the water level is up but Lake Michigan and Huron just hit their lowest levels ever.

They had a record low Janurary, but its come up two inches. That's one above the record for February.
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Re: St. Joseph Lighthouse & Water Levels

Unread postby GLC 392 » Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:12 pm

Up... For now, the captains and crews of the great lakes ships are quite worried about the water level at this point, I talked with several the other day and it does not sound good. They are trying to get a bunch of dredging done this year.
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Re: St. Joseph Lighthouse & Water Levels

Unread postby Standard Railfan » Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:50 am

GLC 392 wrote:Up... For now, the captains and crews of the great lakes ships are quite worried about the water level at this point, I talked with several the other day and it does not sound good. They are trying to get a bunch of dredging done this year.


Can you see all rail ore movements from Upper Michigan and Minnesota to Chicago and the east? Sounds like fun to me. It would be a shame to see the traffic dry up to the LSI and CN ore docks though.
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Re: St. Joseph Lighthouse & Water Levels

Unread postby Saturnalia » Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:51 pm

Everyone was freaking out in the 60s too about the low water. So it cycled thru again? BIG DEAL!!

In several years we'll be scared of the lake flooding downtown Grand Haven.
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Re: St. Joseph Lighthouse & Water Levels

Unread postby GLC 392 » Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:38 pm

I wouldn't expect a bunch if any all rail movements, it is not that low yet but enough to concern the ships.
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Re: St. Joseph Lighthouse & Water Levels

Unread postby Jochs » Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:45 pm

The St. Joseph River won't be seeing any big ships until the river can be dredged.
Last Fall's storms created a sandy shoal out by the lighthouse in St. Joseph, and now the water is too shallow for the big freighters to come into the harbor.
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Re: St. Joseph Lighthouse & Water Levels

Unread postby Michael » Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:13 pm

I have no idea how accurate NOAA's weather predictions are but the 3 month outlook shows above average precipitation for the Great Lakes Region
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Re: St. Joseph Lighthouse & Water Levels

Unread postby Y@ » Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:16 pm

MQT3001 wrote:Everyone was freaking out in the 80s too about the low water. So it cycled thru again? BIG DEAL!


You clearly know a lot less about this than you think you do.
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Re: St. Joseph Lighthouse & Water Levels

Unread postby Saturnalia » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:55 pm

Image

Little graph put together by the folks at NOAA. As you can see, the lakes levels fluctuate...a lot. Actually, between 2000 & 2010, the lake, while low, was "stable".

In addition, if one looks at the far longer term....the one between the ice ages, the Great Lakes do tend to lose their water. This historical precedent shows that over the long term, the lakes drop. The lake has only dropped about 6 feet in 150 years!

Nature love cycles. The fluctuations in the lake level is no exception. Sure dredging of outflow rivers has some effect, and that low levels will hurt shipping if they go lower, but saying they will never come up again is quite likely false. If we had used the dustbowl of the 1930s as an indication, how many people would believe that the Midwest has come back to be the most productive farmland in the world? For the very same reason, taking the last decade's temperatures and using them for a long-term climate outlook is unwise. We know temperatures change between ice ages. We are still closer to the last than to the next, which means that it is far more likely to see some more warming before it gets "cold" again.

Climatology is a thousand-year science, not a ten-year science.

Debate my claims if you wish, but please respect them, as I will do for yours.


And @ Y@, sorry, I did mean 60s, not the 80s. Spell-check doesn't catch numerical typos yet :oops:
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Re: St. Joseph Lighthouse & Water Levels

Unread postby 12Bridge » Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:01 pm

This is what happens when you keep building bigger and bigger ships.
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Re: St. Joseph Lighthouse & Water Levels

Unread postby MagnumForce » Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:57 pm

"Bigger ships" haven't been built since the 70's. The Tregurtha is the biggest Lake Boat ever built and was laid down in 79.
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Re: St. Joseph Lighthouse & Water Levels

Unread postby gonzojoe » Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:17 pm

To all of you concerned about water levels, just keep tuned to the Weather Channel for information about "winter storm 'WTF' " and how it will possibly affect water levels in the Great Lakes and all adjoining waters.
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Re: St. Joseph Lighthouse & Water Levels

Unread postby CSX_CO » Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:17 pm

MQT3001 wrote:If we had used the dustbowl of the 1930s as an indication, how many people would believe that the Midwest has come back to be the most productive farmland in the world? For the very same reason, taking the last decade's temperatures and using them for a long-term climate outlook is unwise.


The dust bowl was mostly a 'man made' phenomenon. Too much clear cutting and poor agricultural methods in terms of planting and planning. They stripped the soil, tried to plant too much crop, and when the rains went away, you got the dust bowl because nothing was left to hold the soil. There was a natural reason that the natural Prairie Plants had roots that went 6 and 10 feet into the soil. It was to ensure they had a source of water because of the drought cycles. That's also what made the soil so fertile, it was 'deep'. With different planting methods, improved irrigation, etc the likelihood of a 'dust bowl' has been greatly lessened. Doesn't mean you don't get cyclical drought, but you're not seeing widespread stripping of the soil when the rains stop.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust_Bowl

The reason the dust bowl happened in the first place was because of the deep soil that the plains states enjoy. The Department of Agriculture saw the potential of this 'natural resource' and helped farmers in the area improve their methods to keep it from happening again. I don't think there was ever any doubt in anyone's mind that the plains wasn't going to be the "Breadbasket to the World". This was probably one of the first examples of the Government enacting Environmental protection to keep this natural resource from disappearing altogether.

MQT3001 wrote:Nature love cycles. The fluctuations in the lake level is no exception. Sure dredging of outflow rivers has some effect, and that low levels will hurt shipping if they go lower, but saying they will never come up again is quite likely false.


There is a theory that the reason the Great Lakes level is dropping isn't necessarily because of a lack of rain, but rather "Crustal Rebound". The weight of the ice during the ice age compressed the tectonic plates that the Great Lakes sit on. This depression, helped keep the Great Lakes where they are. If you go back several thousand years, the shore of Lake Michigan was considerably further inland, so saying its dropped 6' in 150 isn't looking at the 'big picture' of it. It has dropped several hundred feet over 10,000 or 15,000 years, so 6 feet in only 150 could be a drastic increase in the levels dropping. So, without the weight of the ice and water on the plate, the magma below the crust is pushing the plate up. This forces the base level of the lake 'above sea level' further up, thereby causing more water to drain out of the lakes and towards the Atlantic Ocean. This natural 'rebound' may be part of the reason why the Great Lakes have been dropping. If that is the case, then it is likely that Great Lake water levels will continue to drop, and be extremely difficult to get back up to previous levels. Going to be tough to force that plate back down without some extreme weight on top of it to force it down. Problem is exacerbated because as you remove the weight of the water (drainage, evaporation, drought), there is less weight pushing on the mantle, therefore the rate of rebound increases.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crustal_rebound

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Re: St. Joseph Lighthouse & Water Levels

Unread postby Saturnalia » Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:32 pm

CSX_CO wrote:
MQT3001 wrote:If we had used the dustbowl of the 1930s as an indication, how many people would believe that the Midwest has come back to be the most productive farmland in the world? For the very same reason, taking the last decade's temperatures and using them for a long-term climate outlook is unwise.

Oh, and there is a theory that the reason the Great Lakes level is dropping isn't necessarily because of a lack of rain, but rather "Crustal Rebound". The weight of the ice during the ice age compressed the tectonic plates that the Great Lakes sit on. This depression, helped keep the Great Lakes where they are. If you go back several thousand years, the shore of Lake Michigan was considerably further inland, so saying its dropped 6' in 150 isn't looking at the 'big picture' of it. It has dropped several hundred feet over 10,000 or 15,000 years, so 6 feet in only 150 is a drastic increase in the levels dropping. So, without the weight of the ice and water on the plate, the magma below the crust is pushing the plate up. This forces the level of the lake 'above sea level' further up, thereby causing more water to drain out of the lakes and towards the Atlantic Ocean. This natural 'rebound' may be part of the reason why the Great Lakes have been dropping.

This is what I was getting at with the lakes losing their water. (didn't want to sound like a total nerd, nor type it all on an iphone) And if we take your "several hundred feet over 10,000-15,000 years", and compare it to 6 in 150, we get nearly the same quotient of about .03. This is part of the reason I take the glacial rebound theory seriously. I have a really good book about the Great Lakes, and it as part of the history section goes over the glacial rebound. Hard to imagine, but the lakes did indeed go dry many times between Ice Age cycles.

And to your point about the Dust Bowl, I was merely using it as an example of a decade of extreme climate fluctuations, and how it did not come to be the norm. In the same way, we cannot just assume one decade of "record highs" will be followed by more of growing intensity.
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Re: St. Joseph Lighthouse & Water Levels

Unread postby CSX_CO » Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:40 pm

MQT3001 wrote:This is what I was getting at with the lakes losing their water. (didn't want to sound like a total nerd, nor type it all on an iphone) And if we take your "several hundred feet over 10,000-15,000 years", and compare it to 6 in 150, we get nearly the same quotient of about .03. This is part of the reason I take the glacial rebound theory seriously. I have a really good book about the Great Lakes, and it as part of the history section goes over the glacial rebound. Hard to imagine, but the lakes did indeed go dry many times between Ice Age cycles.


The problem is that Glacial rebound is exponential. So, the question is, are we leveling out the curve or still climbing it?

Image

So, based upon your math, if we take your 'line' of .03 times 150, the Lake *should* have dropped only 4.5' over that time. Its dropped nearly 6'. So, its dropping faster than it had been in the past. It would take nearly 50 years on your line to drop that additional 1.5'. Drops faster, more crustal rebound, lower levels. If its a natural phenomenon that is causing it to drop faster than in the past, there may be no 'going back' to previous levels.


MQT3001 wrote:And to your point about the Dust Bowl, I was merely using it as an example of a decade of extreme climate fluctuations, and how it did not come to be the norm. In the same way, we cannot just assume one decade of "record highs" will be followed by more of growing intensity.


Again, the 'dust bowl' in itself was a man made phenomenon. It didn't become 'norm' because the Department of Agriculture improved planting methods. You still get cyclical droughts, we just don't get a 'dust bowl' because agriculture has improved exponentially since the 1930's. I would say that cyclical temperature swings ARE the norm. I can remember summers growing up in the 1980's where we didn't go outside for a month it was so hot. A couple years later, and it didn't break 100 degrees. Indianapolis set a record for consecutive 90 degree days this past summer. Two or 3 summers ago, I don't think we even broke 90, let alone 100. So, I don't think anyone would debate that temperatures fluctuate, but saying the Dust Bowl is an example of that isn't necessarily a good one. If anything the Dust Bowl made a bad situation worse because of the actions of man, not nature. Nature had the deep roots to keep the soil in place because of the fluctuations in the temperature. It was the actions of man that caused the Dust Bowl. The Dust Bowl is a good example of a man made environmental disaster.

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Re: St. Joseph Lighthouse & Water Levels

Unread postby Jochs » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:27 pm

Jochs wrote:The St. Joseph River won't be seeing any big ships until the river can be dredged.
Last Fall's storms created a sandy shoal out by the lighthouse in St. Joseph, and now the water is too shallow for the big freighters to come into the harbor.


Here's an article from the Herald Palladium about seeking funds to dredge the harbor, which was damaged by Hurricane Sandy last fall:
http://www.heraldpalladium.com/news/local/harbor-help-sought/article_ec0b0ab6-46f6-56c4-b780-775f78b11d59.html

There was also an article in today's paper (not online yet) about low lake levels and the need to dredge the Galien River in New Buffalo.
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Re: St. Joseph Lighthouse & Water Levels

Unread postby J T » Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:28 pm

CSX_CO wrote:The dust bowl was mostly a 'man made' phenomenon. Too much clear cutting and poor agricultural methods in terms of planting and planning. They stripped the soil, tried to plant too much crop, and when the rains went away, you got the dust bowl because nothing was left to hold the soil.

A friend of mine and I created a mini dust bowl with our 3-wheelers back in the 80s near Bath, MI. There was a gravel pit area where we used to ride, and on one afternoon after a particularly long dry spell, we rode for about 4 hours in about a one mile square area. The entire time we were kicking up dust, but didn't really think anything about it until we decided to get going. To the east of where we were riding was a huge dust cloud hanging low in the sky...at least a mile or two across and equally as high. For the next half hour or so as we headed back to Lansing, we could see the dust cloud in the sky. I bet the people that day to the east of us were freaking out. :lol:

For anyone who would deny that the Dust Bowl was man-made, I was convinced that day that it was possible. :twisted:
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