Ships Hauling Less as Water Levels Drop in Great Lakes

With critics arguing that it would cost too much to successfully tackle climate change, I'd suggest they consider taking a look at the fact that low water in the Great Lakes, caused by a combination of long-and short-term natural effects, could wind up costing big bucks to the economy. Because with Lakes Michigan and Huron inches from record lows, and the other Great Lakes down as well, it's becoming tough for some ships to reach ports like Green Bay with a full load.

As Port Director Dean Haen points out, "For every inch of water missing — and we're down 22 to 24 inches — that 1 inch equals 100 tons that can't be put on a ship. So ships are carrying only 15,000 to 16,000 tons, when they used to carry from 18,000 to 20,000."
"In a worst-case scenario, you load your ship to a certain depth and find out there isn't enough water, so you've got to sit out in the lower bay and wait," he said. "That's not happened recently, but it happened last fall, where a ship had to drop anchor and just wait. Those ships operate at $1,000 an hour, so you sure don't want to drop anchor for a 24-hour period."

And with states further south looking for a greater share of the water supply from the Great Lakes I think it's obvious what difficult choices will be have to be made even within the U.S. in the face of unabated climate change.

See also:: Children Already Bearing Brunt of Global Warming, 6 Year-Old Solves Climate Crisis!

via:: Green Bay Press-Gazette, and a tip from Jim!

Tags: Drought | Great Lakes | Transportation

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