Bibliothèque Électronique Lac Saint-Pierre

Managing St. Lawrence River discharge in times of climatic uncertainty : How water quantity affects wildlife, recreation and the economy

Hudon, C. (2004). Managing St. Lawrence River discharge in times of climatic uncertainty : How water quantity affects wildlife, recreation and the economy. [Publication gouvernementale]

Ce document n'est pas hébergé sur Bibliothèque Électronique Lac Saint-Pierre.


Large inland lakes with closed drainage basins are largely dependent upon the climatic regime for their water balance, both of which determine the seasonal and inter-annual variations in lake level. Climatic conditions and the resulting changes in water availability impact human activities; in turn, human adaptation to climate (especially under drought conditions) can exert significant feedbacks on water resources. This situation is exemplified by the major changes experienced by two of the largest inland lakes of the world : increased water supply prompted a 2.7 m rise in the Caspian Sea level from 1978 to 1998 (+ 0.135 m per year) whereas persistent drought and water diversions for irrigation purposes generated a 20 m drop in the Aral Sea level between 1960 and 2000 (– 0.5 m per year) (Jorgensen et al. 2003). As a consequence, the Aral Sea has lost over 75 percent of its original (pre-diversion) surface area of 68 000 km2 and split into two basins in 1989 (Jorgensen et al. 2003). These two contrasting situations illustrate the extreme vulnerability of inland lakes to climate and human interventions. Although the situation in the North American Great Lakes differs in many respects, they are nevertheless subject to the same kinds of interactions between climate, hydrology and human activities—all of which bear consequences for aquatic ecosystems (Mortsch 1998, Schindler 2001). As the St. Lawrence River constitutes the major outlet of the Great Lakes through Lake Ontario, the hydrological regime experienced in the river is largely tied to the climatic conditions and human activities taking place in the upper part of its watershed – at the continental scale.

Type de document: Publication gouvernementale
Éditeur: St. Lawrence Centre, Environment Canada
Lieu de publication: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Statut du texte intégral: Autre
Mots-clés libres: Drainage basins, Water balance, Lake level, Climatic regime, Water availability, Impact on human, North American Great Lakes, Aquatic ecosystem.
Sujets: 2. Milieu physique > 2.4. Hydrologie
6. Milieu humain
8. Impacts et monitoring
Date de dépôt: 06 août 2016 14:48
Dernière modification: 06 août 2016 14:48

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