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World’s lakes shrinking, but Great Lakes on the rise

The Great Lakes dominate this true-colour satellite image made available by NASA. The Great Lakes dominate this true-colour satellite image made available by NASA.

New data shows most of the world’s lakes are shrinking.

The study was published by the journal Science, done by University of Virginia hydrologist, Fangfang Yao.

It suggests climate change and human consumption are causing big water bodies to dry up, even in humid climates with more precipitation.

According to Environment Canada, lakes in Southwestern Ontario are slowly rising — contradicting that trend.

However, it comes with flood risks, especially for those living along the coast lines of the Great Lakes.

“If you happen to have storms happening at the same time as you have these high water levels, you can get increased flooding,” explained Frank Seglenieks, water resources engineer at Environment and Climate Change Canada.

“There’s really nothing that mankind can do to stop that in the short term,” he added.

Although southwestern Ontario’s humid region seems to be going in the opposite direction than other lake areas with humidity, Seglenieks said it’s a slow climb and could change. It’s just the trend we’re seeing right now and anticipated for the next 30 years.

Despite that, Seglenieks is confident we’ll see extreme high and low levels — something he believes municipalities and cities should start preparing for now.

“What we can do is something called ‘adaptive management,’” he explained. “Where we try to say, ‘Okay, we can handle flows that are both on the low end or the high end,’ and then retrofitting what we already have to make it more adaptable.” Top Stories

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