This Great Lake is missing over 1 million Olympic-sized pools of water

Kevin MacKay and Nathan Howes
·2 min read
This Great Lake is missing over 1 million Olympic-sized pools of water
This Great Lake is missing over 1 million Olympic-sized pools of water

When a major city such as Toronto experiences above average precipitation during a season, it doesn't necessarily mean water levels in a surrounding lake will also be higher than usual.

Case in point is Lake Ontario. While Toronto received a slightly above normal snowfall amount this winter, the water levels in this Great Lake are expected to stay below average.

SEE ALSO: Spring flooding still a concern with Great Lakes water levels

In fact, Lake Ontario is 0.58 metres below average currently -- a shortage size equivalent to 1.35 million Olympic-based swimming pools.

Another good comparison is lakes Erie and Huron, expected to see water levels well above average, while the nearby regions only saw about 50-65 per cent of their average snowfall in the winter months.

AprilGreatLakes
AprilGreatLakes

"(This) shows that water levels aren't as easily correlated to seasonal precipitation. Although the lakes do have an annual fluctuation, they've remained above average since 2014," said Weather Network meteorologist Kevin MacKay.

"Also, Erie, Huron, Michigan and Superior have much more similar trends than Ontario because Ontario is the one lake that has a degree of manual manipulation (through) the St. Lawrence River."

While Lake Ontario is below average, Lake Erie is 0.5 metres above, so this means its water levels hold an additional 5.07 million Olympic-sized pools. Lake Huron is 0.63 metres above average, enough water to cover an extra 15.1 million Olympic-sized pools.

"Needless to say, there's plenty of water. There's a reason they're called the Great Lakes and are world renowned," said MacKay.

GREAT LAKES WATER LEVELS HAVE BEEN HIGH FOR YEARS, WILL 2021 BE ANY DIFFERENT?

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SECOND-DRIEST MARCH FOR TORONTO

Toronto experienced its second-driest March in the past five years. There was a significant divide in precipitation amounts over the 31 days.

From March 1-21, the city barely registered any rain or snowfall, with just 2.6 mm recorded. However, March 22-31 was quite a different story -- Toronto saw nearly a month's worth of rainfall in the last week.

TorontoMarch
TorontoMarch

The drier conditions in southern Ontario this year are certainly helping to bring water levels in Lake Ontario down.

However, it should be noted that the water level in Lake Ontario is slightly human-regulated (by the International St. Lawrence River Board of Control) whereas lakes Erie and Lake Huron are not.

Thumbnail courtesy of International Space Station (ISS)/NASA.