06 January 2016

Wednesday Infographic: Great Lakes Water Budgets

Just a little something to hold you over while I ponder my next narrative post.

The North American (Laurentian) Great Lakes constitute the largest collection of surface freshwater in the world, containing about 21% of the world's liquid freshwater. Lake Superior is itself the largest freshwater lake in the world in terms of surface area and has the third largest freshwater volume of any single lake in the world (behind Lakes Baikal and Tanganyika). The Great Lakes were formed as the Laurentide ice sheet melted and retreated northeastward to the Hudson Bay region at the end of the last North American Ice Age, around 14,000 years ago. The largest lakes in Canada (Winnipeg, Athabasca, Great Slave, and Great Bear) and Lake Champlain in the US, as well as innumerable others, were also formed during glacial retreat around that time.

This infographic (click for full resolution version) by Kaye Margaret LaFond appeared on the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Lab's twitter feed (@NOAA_GLERL). It's based on this paper in the Journal of Great Lakes Research, in which I hope to publish sometime soon...

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