Paleo-hydrologists have adjusted for glacial isostatic uplift and compared the original elevations of paleo-water level indicators and basin outlets for Lake Huron, revealing that Huron lake levels fell tens of meters below its lowest possible outlet (becoming a terminal lake) about 7,900 14C years BP. This corresponds to when the upper Great Lakes stopped receiving glacial melt inflow and became dependent for water supply on precipitation alone, as at present. Since these researchers accounted for differential isostatic effects, they surmised that the upper Great Lakes were impacted by severe dry climate. To understand possible climate changes that led to the closure, the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory applied their Advanced Hydrologic Prediction System to explore deviations from present climates that could force the upper Great Lakes to become terminal. GLERL modeled the steady-state water balance of the present upper Great Lakes with pre-development natural water flow conditions by employing lake outflow-depth rating curves (using estimated sill elevations) reasonable for a natural system and by using dynamic lake areas controlled by observed hypsometric relations for each lake. By using systematic shifts in precipitation and temperature relative to the present base climate, GLERL showed the temperature rises and precipitation drops required for a terminal lake; they may be less extreme if additional effects of past differences in wind speed and insolation are also considered.

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