Current water levels, weekly and long-term trends

The USACE weekly Georgian Bay (Lake Michigan-Huron) water levels: click here.

The USACE monthly Georgian Bay (Lake Michigan-Huron) water levels: click here.

LEVELnews: monitoring Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River water levels, From the Government of Canada. Click here.

The 12 month outlook summary for the Great Lakes in English units.


Trend Summary:

Georgian Bay, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan are connected hydrologically. Historic records show that water levels have fluctuated yearly based upon seasonal cycles and have, until recently, slowly moved between extreme highs and extreme lows over a 1.93m (6.33 feet) range. Although we all know that water levels go up and water levels go down, there are no discernable cycles in the existing dataset (that starts in 1918) showing longer term water level patterns -- this despite some adamant observers' opinions. In any case, the new conditions brought about by Global Warming mean that it is no longer your grandfather's Bay and previous observations are no longer reliable indicators of future conditions.

Fluctuations are important and necessary to our native plants and animals that have evolved and adapted to historic conditions in the upper Great Lakes. The competitive success of those plants at their favourite water levels ensures that there are a variety of plants that can provide shelter, protection and food for the large number of species that call these wetlands home. Climate change has disrupted these relationships, and impacted our own recreational activities in Georgian Bay.

What is the water level forecast for the next five years? Increasing variability and flashiness with a slight trend to higher average levels and wider range between highs and lows (as of December 2020).

Watch this 1 hour water levels video

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Georgian Bay Water Level Extremes

Since the 60's experts have begun to see concerning deviations from historical norms. This is resulting in more dynamic changes including recent examples of historic lows followed by some of the fastest ever recorded rises. Models predict that climate change will cause a slow increase in average water levels over the coming decades with increasingly unpredictable “flashier” short term highs and lows caused by more extreme storms and other weather effects. The models also predict the possibility of greater ranges exceeding extremes on both the high and low ends of the range. Current infrastructure is not equipped to handle more extreme conditions and that can lead to large economic and environmental consequences such as sewage overflows, road washouts, flooding due to overland rainfall, and increasing wave action undercutting coastal infrastructure. Climate resiliency must be built into the hydrological system of the Upper Great Lakes to mitigate the impacts predicted by climate models for next 100 years. These adaptations must be done simultaneously with long term continued global, local and personal efforts to reduce green house gas emissions in order to keep global temperatures from increasing beyond the 2 degrees Celsius increase since industrial times that scientists warn is the critical point for reversing global changes. Clickable links to more information:

  • Since the 1960s the single biggest cause of extreme water level highs and lows has been climate change. Learn more: Climate Change Impacts
  • Extreme high-highs and low-lows will not only impact our economy but our way of life as we know it today. Learn more
  • Adaptation & Resiliency: We need to find new and better ways to stabilize water levels for the long-term health and well-being of the region. In the interim, we need to adapt to increase our resiliency to these extreme fluctuations. Find out more.
  • Frequently Asked Questions: FAQs on water levels and fluctuations, and GBF's proposed solutions. Click Here
  • Evaporation: whats happening?Click here: Water levels, evaporation, ice coverage and thermodynamics
  • Why fluctuations in water levels within historical norms are good? Info Here