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Great Lakes Water Level Future Scenarios - January 2024 - March Update

Water Level Scenarios Summary:

This product is not an official forecast of Great Lakes water levels. Rather, this product is meant to illustrate outcomes that would occur under historical weather and water supply condition, with scenarios chosen based on similarities to recent conditions. For the official forecast, please see our Monthly Bulletin of Great Lakes Water Levels. This tool has been predominantly used to show the possible range of water levels in the upcoming year based on historical hydrologic conditions and water supplies. Beginning in 2021, we will be modifying our scenarios to account for different time periods based on the scenario that is chosen. 

 

Water levels follow a seasonal cycle where during the fall and early winter, the lakes generally decline due to an increase in evaporation as temperatures decline and cold air moves over the relatively warm lake waters. In the spring and early summer, water levels typically rise due to increased precipitation and enhanced runoff from snowmelt. We refer to the combined effect of precipitation over the lake, evaporation from the lake, and runoff to the lake as Net Basin Supply (NBS). This edition of the Water Level Future Scenarios incorporates the projection of water levels if NBS conditions approximated those that occurred in the 12 months during and after the 8 ‘strongest’ El Nino events. The effects of the 8 NBS sequences are represented by the purple plume.  Three of the ‘strongest’ El Ninos occurred in 1958, 1983, and 1998, and their hypothetical impacts on future water levels are represented by the green, blue, and pink lines.  The gray shaded area on the plot represents the full range of possible outcomes using historical sequences of NBS from 1900 through 2022.  The most recent coordinated 6-month forecast is also shown for comparison.



Click on the individual graphics to view a larger, printer-friendly image (pdf).


12-Month Outlook Legend

 
Lake Superior 12-Month Outlook Graphic Lakes Michigan-Huron 12-Month Outlook Graphic
Lake St. Clair 12-Month Outlook Graphic Lake Erie 12-Month Outlook Graphic


12-Month Outlook Legend
 
 
*At this time, water level outlooks for Lake Ontario are still under development due to complexities of its weekly regulation process.
 For the official 6-month forecast of all lakes, including Lake Ontario, see the Monthly Bulletin of Great Lakes Water Levels.
 

 

Click here to obtain the full Great Lakes Water Level Future Scenarios document (pdf)

Great Lakes Water Level Future Scenarios Data

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Water Level Future Scenarios Tabular Data (meters)

Lake Superior

Monthly Mean Water Level (meters IGLD)

  Mar-24 Apr-24 May-24 Jun-24 Jul-24 Aug-24 Sep-24 Oct-24 Nov-24 Dec-24 Jan-25 Feb-25
Maximum Strong El Nino Years 183.25 183.30 183.40 183.50 183.56 183.62 183.63 183.59 183.53 183.46 183.40 183.32
Minimum Strong El Nino Years 183.20 183.19 183.23 183.29 183.33 183.31 183.25 183.19 183.15 183.11 183.05 183.02
1958-59 183.20 183.19 183.23 183.29 183.37 183.43 183.44 183.41 183.37 183.30 183.20 183.13
1983-84 183.22 183.26 183.35 183.43 183.48 183.51 183.50 183.50 183.52 183.46 183.36 183.32
1998-99 183.23 183.24 183.27 183.32 183.35 183.31 183.25 183.19 183.15 183.11 183.05 183.02
Long Term Average 183.24 183.27 183.37 183.46 183.52 183.54 183.55 183.52 183.48 183.41 183.34 183.28
Long Term Maximum 183.61 183.68 183.77 183.84 183.86 183.86 183.86 183.91 183.89 183.81 183.71 183.64
Long Term Minimum 182.74 182.72 182.76 182.85 182.96 183.01 183.02 183.10 183.01 182.92 182.83 182.76

 

Lake Michigan-Huron

Monthly Mean Water Level (meters IGLD)

 

  Mar-24 Apr-24 May-24 Jun-24 Jul-24 Aug-24 Sep-24 Oct-24 Nov-24 Dec-24 Jan-25 Feb-25
Maximum Strong El Nino Years 176.46 176.59 176.72 176.84 176.86 176.85 176.79 176.71 176.64 176.58 176.57 176.58
Minimum Strong El Nino Years 176.38 176.37 176.36 176.35 176.36 176.34 176.29 176.22 176.13 176.03 175.97 175.95
1958-59 176.38 176.37 176.36 176.35 176.36 176.34 176.29 176.22 176.13 176.03 175.97 175.95
1983-84 176.42 176.49 176.62 176.72 176.72 176.68 176.63 176.56 176.51 176.47 176.42 176.42
1998-99 176.45 176.56 176.61 176.62 176.58 176.51 176.42 176.30 176.19 176.10 176.04 176.04
Long Term Average 176.33 176.41 176.51 176.57 176.60 176.58 176.53 176.47 176.41 176.36 176.32 176.31
Long Term Maximum 177.22 177.29 177.37 177.44 177.45 177.42 177.38 177.50 177.38 177.26 177.26 177.24
Long Term Minimum 175.58 175.61 175.74 175.76 175.78 175.77 175.76 175.70 175.65 175.61 175.57 175.59

 

Lake St. Clair

Monthly Mean Water Level (meters IGLD)

 

  Mar-24 Apr-24 May-24 Jun-24 Jul-24 Aug-24 Sep-24 Oct-24 Nov-24 Dec-24 Jan-25 Feb-25
Maximum Strong El Nino Years 175.38 175.44 175.46 175.53 175.52 175.46 175.37 175.27 175.31 175.32 175.39 175.33
Minimum Strong El Nino Years 175.16 175.11 175.13 175.12 175.09 175.03 174.96 174.90 174.83 174.77 174.74 174.79
1958-59 175.16 175.11 175.13 175.12 175.14 175.11 175.05 174.96 174.83 174.81 174.74 174.79
1983-84 175.18 175.29 175.41 175.45 175.43 175.39 175.30 175.20 175.17 175.24 175.18 175.26
1998-99 175.27 175.35 175.37 175.34 175.29 175.22 175.12 174.98 174.85 174.77 174.83 174.82
Long Term Average 174.94 175.08 175.16 175.21 175.23 175.19 175.12 175.03 174.94 174.94 174.87 174.82
Long Term Maximum 175.83 175.91 175.98 176.02 176.04 175.97 175.88 175.96 175.82 175.80 175.80 175.80
Long Term Minimum 174.05 174.32 174.42 174.45 174.50 174.41 174.34 174.27 174.18 174.24 173.88 173.89

 

Lake Erie

Monthly Mean Water Level (meters IGLD)

 

  Mar-24 Apr-24 May-24 Jun-24 Jul-24 Aug-24 Sep-24 Oct-24 Nov-24 Dec-24 Jan-25 Feb-25
Maximum Strong El Nino Years 174.55 174.71 174.72 174.75 174.74 174.65 174.52 174.48 174.49 174.54 174.61 174.62
Minimum Strong El Nino Years 174.40 174.41 174.40 174.32 174.25 174.18 174.08 174.00 174.00 173.92 173.96 174.02
1958-59 174.40 174.41 174.40 174.38 174.39 174.35 174.28 174.16 174.05 173.99 174.01 174.11
1983-84 174.42 174.51 174.63 174.67 174.64 174.59 174.46 174.33 174.32 174.40 174.41 174.45
1998-99 174.47 174.60 174.63 174.57 174.51 174.44 174.31 174.15 174.01 173.92 173.96 174.02
Long Term Average 174.11 174.26 174.34 174.37 174.35 174.29 174.20 174.10 174.03 174.02 174.03 174.02
Long Term Maximum 174.95 175.05 175.08 175.14 175.13 175.02 174.87 174.94 174.85 174.89 174.86 174.90
Long Term Minimum 173.20 173.38 173.44 173.45 173.45 173.43 173.38 173.30 173.20 173.19 173.21 173.18

 

 

Water Level Future Scenarios Tabular Data (feet)

                         

Lake Superior

Monthly Mean Water Level (ft IGLD)

  Mar-24 Apr-24 May-24 Jun-24 Jul-24 Aug-24 Sep-24 Oct-24 Nov-24 Dec-24 Jan-25 Feb-25
Maximum 8 Strongest El Nino Years 601.21 601.39 601.69 602.03 602.24 602.43 602.46 602.33 602.12 601.91 601.72 601.43
Minimum Strongest El Nino Years 601.04 601.03 601.13 601.33 601.48 601.40 601.23 601.03 600.90 600.77 600.57 600.46
1958-59 601.04 601.03 601.13 601.33 601.62 601.79 601.83 601.74 601.59 601.37 601.06 600.83
1983-84 601.12 601.25 601.54 601.81 601.97 602.06 602.03 602.04 602.10 601.91 601.58 601.43
1998-99 601.14 601.20 601.27 601.45 601.53 601.40 601.23 601.03 600.90 600.77 600.57 600.46
Long Term Average 601.18 601.28 601.61 601.90 602.10 602.17 602.20 602.10 601.97 601.74 601.51 601.31
Long Term Maximum 602.40 602.62 602.92 603.15 603.22 603.22 603.22 603.38 603.31 603.05 602.72 602.49
Long Term Minimum 599.54 599.48 599.61 599.90 600.26 600.43 600.46 600.72 600.43 600.13 599.84 599.61

 

Lake Michigan-Huron

Monthly Mean Water Level (ft IGLD)

 

  Mar-24 Apr-24 May-24 Jun-24 Jul-24 Aug-24 Sep-24 Oct-24 Nov-24 Dec-24 Jan-25 Feb-25
Maximum 8 Strongest El Nino Years 578.95 579.36 579.79 580.17 580.26 580.22 580.03 579.76 579.54 579.34 579.31 579.33
Minimum Strongest El Nino Years 578.67 578.65 578.61 578.57 578.61 578.54 578.38 578.15 577.85 577.54 577.32 577.26
1958-59 578.67 578.65 578.61 578.57 578.61 578.54 578.38 578.15 577.85 577.54 577.32 577.26
1983-84 578.80 579.03 579.47 579.81 579.80 579.67 579.49 579.27 579.11 578.97 578.82 578.81
1998-99 578.91 579.26 579.43 579.48 579.34 579.10 578.81 578.40 578.06 577.75 577.57 577.56
Long Term Average 578.51 578.77 579.10 579.30 579.40 579.33 579.17 578.97 578.77 578.61 578.48 578.44
Long Term Maximum 581.43 581.66 581.92 582.15 582.19 582.09 581.96 582.35 581.96 581.56 581.56 581.50
Long Term Minimum 576.05 576.15 576.57 576.64 576.71 576.67 576.64 576.44 576.28 576.15 576.02 576.08

 

Lake St. Clair

Monthly Mean Water Level (ft IGLD)

 

  Mar-24 Apr-24 May-24 Jun-24 Jul-24 Aug-24 Sep-24 Oct-24 Nov-24 Dec-24 Jan-25 Feb-25
Maximum 8 Strongest El Nino Years 575.38 575.59 575.65 575.88 575.86 575.67 575.36 575.03 575.18 575.19 575.42 575.24
Minimum Strongest El Nino Years 574.67 574.52 574.59 574.55 574.43 574.26 574.01 573.83 573.59 573.40 573.30 573.46
1958-59 574.67 574.52 574.59 574.55 574.60 574.50 574.31 574.02 573.59 573.52 573.30 573.46
1983-84 574.75 575.09 575.50 575.62 575.54 575.43 575.11 574.80 574.72 574.95 574.74 574.99
1998-99 575.03 575.29 575.37 575.27 575.11 574.88 574.53 574.08 573.66 573.40 573.57 573.54
Long Term Average 573.95 574.41 574.67 574.84 574.90 574.77 574.54 574.25 573.95 573.95 573.72 573.56
Long Term Maximum 576.87 577.13 577.36 577.49 577.56 577.33 577.03 577.30 576.84 576.77 576.77 576.77
Long Term Minimum 571.03 571.92 572.24 572.34 572.51 572.21 571.98 571.75 571.46 571.65 570.47 570.51

 

Lake Erie

Monthly Mean Water Level (ft IGLD)

 

  Mar-24 Apr-24 May-24 Jun-24 Jul-24 Aug-24 Sep-24 Oct-24 Nov-24 Dec-24 Jan-25 Feb-25
Maximum 8 Strongest El Nino Years 572.67 573.20 573.23 573.34 573.31 572.99 572.58 572.45 572.46 572.64 572.86 572.90
Minimum Strongest El Nino Years 572.18 572.23 572.18 571.91 571.67 571.46 571.12 570.87 570.87 570.60 570.75 570.93
1958-59 572.18 572.23 572.18 572.12 572.15 572.03 571.78 571.39 571.03 570.82 570.90 571.23
1983-84 572.24 572.53 572.93 573.05 572.97 572.79 572.37 571.95 571.91 572.18 572.22 572.33
1998-99 572.40 572.83 572.92 572.74 572.54 572.31 571.89 571.36 570.89 570.60 570.75 570.93
Long Term Average 571.23 571.72 571.98 572.08 572.01 571.82 571.52 571.19 570.96 570.93 570.96 570.93
Long Term Maximum 573.98 574.31 574.41 574.61 574.57 574.21 573.72 573.95 573.65 573.79 573.69 573.82
Long Term Minimum 568.24 568.83 569.03 569.06 569.06 569.00 568.83 568.57 568.24 568.21 568.27 568.18

 

Detroit District Disclaimer

All data contained herein is preliminary in nature and therefore subject to change. The data is for general information purposes ONLY and SHALL NOT be used in technical applications such as, but not limited to, studies or designs. All critical data should be obtained from and verified by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, Engineering and Construction Division, Hydraulics and Hydrology Branch, 477 Michigan Ave., Detroit, MI 48226. The United States of America assumes no liability for the completeness or accuracy of the data contained herein and any use of such data inconsistent with this disclaimer shall be solely at the risk of the user.