When in Drought: Satellites show low Great Lakes groundwater
The drought plaguing the country continues to sap the groundwater and soil water of the Great Lakes region, according to new NASA satellite data.
The two maps, constructed using data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellites, show low near-surface and subterranean water levels across the region between January 8 and 14, 2013. These satellites have been used to examine surface soil and ground water levels since they were launched in 2002.
While not as low as some areas of the southeast or west, much of the region remains below the 1948-2009 average. Average levels are denoted by white space on the maps, while above-average is blue and below-average appears red.
Recent winter storms, according to NASA, have alleviated low surface water in some areas of the nation, including southeast Michigan and Ohio, but done little to raise groundwater stores. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, northern Wisconsin and Minnesota, and areas along the Indiana-Illinois border show particularly low groundwater levels.
NASA reports that the surface soil map illustrates present conditions, while the groundwater storage map reveals a glimpse of the long-term issue.