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Experimental 5-year Forecasts of Great Lakes Water Levels

How to interpret the graphics on this page:

This product is experimental. For the official 6-month forecast of Great Lakes water levels, see the Monthly Bulletin of Great Lakes Water Levels. The graphics on this page depict outlooks of monthly mean water levels resulting from two alternative approaches to representing the potential variability of future net basin supply (NBS, which represents the total contribution of water to each lake from precipitation over the lake, evaporation from the lake's surface, and runoff into the lake from the lake's watershed). The "Historical Supplies" approach results in a range of potential water levels that could occur if the historical NBS is representative of potential future NBS. The "Forecast Supplies" approach consists of water levels that are driven by a range of NBS sequences resulting from a physically based modeling system (GLSHyFS) that takes into consideration initial conditions at the forecast start date as well as seasonal climatic outlooks for the first several months of the forecast. Typically, the "Historical Supplies" approach results in forecasts that gradually approach long term average water levels, while the "Forecast Supplies" approach can show more variability and subtle changes in water levels. The forecast systems used to produce these forecasts, developed through a research-to-operations collaboration between the Detroit District and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, are described in Gronewold et al (2017) and USACE (2018).

Each graphic has 5 panels. The largest and furthest left panel depicts the monthly mean water levels that are projected for the next 12 months using the two alternative NBS forecast systems. The yellow shaded area shows the range of variability in monthly mean water levels that results when an ensemble of historical NBS sequences is used to predict water levels, and the yellow line shows the median forecast from this "Historical Supplies" approach. The blue shaded area shows the range of variability in monthly mean water levels that results from a physically based modeling system that takes into consideration initial conditions as well as seasonal climate outlook, and the blue line represents the median forecast from this "Forecast Supplies" approach.

The four narrow panels to the right depict the range of variability (shown as shaded vertical lines) of monthly mean water levels within the subsequent two to four 12-month periods of the forecast horizon, as well as the annual mean water level predicted for those 12 month periods (shown as large dark points).

In addition to forecast data, graphics include a red horizontal line showing the long term average annual water level (LTA Annual), black bars showing long term average monthly mean water levels (LTA Monthly), and gray bars showing long term maximum and minimum monthly mean water levels (Max/Min Monthly).

NOTICE: Data displayed in these graphics are experimental (see disclaimer at bottom of page). For information, contact hhpm@usace.army.mil. For the official 6-month forecast of Great Lakes water levels, see the Monthly Bulletin of Great Lakes Water Levels.

Graphic showing 5-year forecast of monthly mean Lake Superior water levels
Graphic showing 5-year forecast of monthly mean Lake Michigan-Huron water levels
Graphic showing 5-year forecast of monthly mean Lake St. Clair water levels
Graphic showing 5-year forecast of monthly mean Lake Erie water levels
Graphic showing 5-year forecast of monthly mean Lake Ontario water levels

NOTICE: Data displayed in these graphics are experimental (see disclaimer at bottom of page). For information, contact hhpm@usace.army.mil. For the official 6-month forecast of Great Lakes water levels, see the Monthly Bulletin of Great Lakes Water Levels.

References:

GRONEWOLD, A.D., T.S. HUNTER, J. Allison, L.M. Fry, K.A. Kompoltowicz, R.A. Bolinger, and L. Pei. Project Documentation Report for Great Lakes seasonal and inter-annual water supply forecasting improvements project Phase I: Research and Development. NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Ann Arbor, Mich., 233 pp. (2017). https://www.glerl.noaa.gov/pubs/fulltext/2018/20180020.pdf

USACE. Five-Year Flow Forecast for the Niagara & St. Lawrence Rivers. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District, Detroit Michigan, 55 pp. (2018). http://lre-wm.usace.army.mil/ForecastData/5yrForecast/NYPA_PAS_FY2018_Report_Final.pdf

Detroit District Disclaimer

NOTICE: 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 Technical Services, Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office, 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.