Planning the future of Great Lakes environmental observation systems

Observing systems around the Great Lakes provide real-time physical, chemical, and biological data that are used topredict weather, ice-cover, water levels, harmful algal blooms (HABs), and many other variables that are used by researchers, businesses, and the public to make decisions.  These observing systems range from in-lake instrumentation mounted on buoys, to remote sensing technologies that use satellite, airborne, and ship-based sensors.  Keeping observing systems up-to-date with the latest technology, and making sure they give stakeholders the information they need in real-time, is a continual challenge.

This week the University of Michigan’s Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research (CILER) is convening experts from multiple government agencies, universities, and institutes spanning U.S. and Canada to assess the current state of observing systems around the Great Lakes, and to identify critical gaps and future priorities for new observing systems in the coming decade.

This is the last of three summits held in 2016 that focus on identifying the most pressing research and management needs to achieve sustainability in the Great Lakes.  Summits have centered on each of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory’s (GLERL’s) research programs – Understanding Ecosystems, Forecasting Environmental Change, and Developing Advanced Technology and Observing Systems.

The Great Lakes Observing Systems summit is being led Tom Johengen (University of Michigan-CILER), Kelli Page (Great Lakes Observing System (GLOS)), Steve Ruberg (NOAA-GLERL), and Michael Twiss (Clarkson University).

Brad Cardinale, Director of the Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research (CILER) said “This summit is a key step towards ensuring we have the data needed to make our coastal communities and economies resilient in the face of climate change, and to ensure we can keep the ecosystems we rely on both healthy and sustainable.”