"The polar vortex came with a silver lining: Water levels are up on the Great Lakes this summer, providing welcome news to boaters, beach-goers and cottagers who have become increasingly nervous about changing shorelines.
The good news is muted, though, by the fact that this year’s higher levels come after a period of record lows. Numerous studies have attempted to explain the longer-term declines and whether they are part of a cycle of long-term fluctuations or signal permanently lowered levels. Dredging of the links between lakes, natural cycles and increased evaporation due to climate change have all been listed by experts as factors.
Reached by phone on his boat near Midland, Ont., David Sweetnam says water levels in his region are about nine inches above last year. But the executive director of Georgian Bay Forever, an environmental advocacy group, said those with deep roots in cottage country know the water is still below the historical average and long-term trends remain a concern. He expects this year will be a “blip” caused by the unusually cold winter."