Monday, October 22, 2007

The Other Angry Inch

I was working at home today so you'd think I'd have gotten up a few posts, particularly since there were several things in the NY Times I wanted to mention. Such is the life of a busy boy.

There are plenty of things to blog about: the water crisis in Atlanta, the fires in California, the situation in Iraq and Turkey, the mortgage crisis, the price of oil, but here's one I really wanted to bring to your attention if I didn't have time to address any of the others.

Yet another crisis is developing in the Great Lakes with dropping water levels which is adversely affecting the shipping industry.

“What we need is some rain,” said Mr. Daniels, director of the Port of Oswego Authority, one of a dozen public port agencies on the United States side of the Great Lakes. “The more we lose water, the less cargo the ships that travel in the Great Lakes can carry, and each time that happens, shipping companies lose money,” he said. “Ultimately, it’s people like you and I who are going to pay the price.”

Photo credit: James Rajotte for the New York Times

What does an inch mean to you?

Water levels in the Great Lakes are falling; Lake Ontario, for example, is about seven inches below where it was a year ago. And for every inch of water that the lakes lose, the ships that ferry bulk materials across them must lighten their loads by 270 tons — or 540,000 pounds — or risk running aground, according to the Lake Carriers’ Association, a trade group for United States-flag cargo companies.

None of this is good news.

Most environmental researchers say that low precipitation, mild winters and high evaporation, due largely to a lack of heavy ice covers to shield cold lake waters from the warmer air above, are depleting the lakes.

In case some of you cannot access the NY Times link, try this link. Let me know if you experience trouble accessing the story. It's really quite interesting.

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