Five Great Lakes of North America


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    Scientists are building a sensor network to detect the trends in the water chemistry of Lake Huron, one of the five Great Lakes of North America.

    • It is the first step towards developing a system that would be capable of measuring the carbon dioxide and pH levels of the Great Lakes over several years.

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    • It is known that the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide has caused the world’s oceans to turn more acidic. 
    • Recently, it has been observed that by 2100, even the Great Lakes — Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario — might approach acidity at around the same rate as the oceans.

    About Great Lakes

    • They are believed to have been born some 20,000 years ago when the Earth started to warm and water from melting glaciers filled the basins on its surface.
    • The Great Lakes are, from west to east:  Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario. 
    • They are a dominant part of the physical and cultural heritage of North America.
      • The Great Lakes basin encompasses large parts of two nations, the United States and Canada.
    • They drain into the Gulf of St Lawrence in the North Atlantic through the St Lawrence River.
    • They contain a fifth of the world’s total freshwater and are a crucial source of irrigation and transportation. 
    • They also serve as the habitat for more than 3,500 species of plants and animals.

    Acidification of water bodies

    • Acidification of oceans or freshwater bodies takes place when excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere gets rapidly absorbed into them. 
    • Acidification may lead to a decrease in native biodiversity, create physiological challenges for organisms, and permanently alter the structure of the ecosystem, scientists say. It would also severely impact the hundreds of wooden shipwrecks that are believed to be resting at the bottom of these lakes,