Surface warming of the Great Lakes varies significantly, a team of researchers from the University of Michigan, NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), and other organizations found.

The recent US study was published in the journal Climactic Change and concluded that warming of the Great Lakes is not happening evenly in all regions of the lakes. Knowledge of temperature change in various regions has implications for long term management of ecosystems affected by the rising temperatures.

Warmer water temperatures result from increased temperature of the surrounding air as well as lesser ice cover. The research team analyzed decades worth of seasonal ice cover duration and lake summer surface water temperatures, then compared their findings to reported lake and basin wide trends.

Analysis of lakes as a whole hides important data related to variation in smaller areas and timeframes the research team states in their Abstract. Northern and eastern sections of the Great Lakes have experienced faster rates of warming.

This data allows for more accurate modeling and better planning for ecosystem protection, which also influence policy making. The effectiveness of policies relies on complete and detailed information.

Concerns about Great Lake temperatures that are several degrees above average this summer were published previously. Fisherman observed that some fish populations are moving to deeper water where the temperatures are cooler.

In addition to worries about warmer temperatures and ecosystems, the rising temperature of the Great Lakes may have an effect on the amount of snowfall surrounding regions experience this coming winter. Upstate New York is already predicting higher than average snow fall based on the increased lake temperature.

Effects of climate change continue to be measured and reported. With enough data, systems can be put into place that mitigate the amount of damage done to ecosystem population and biodiversity.