Although the 150+ years of recorded water level data for the Great Lakes comprise one of the longest high quality hydrometeorological data sets in North America, it may not necessarily be representative of the last several thousand years during which the Great Lakes have been in their present hydraulic state. Records from paleo lake level analysis, using submerged tree stumps, tree ring data, and ancient shorelines to draw conclusions about past lake levels, climate, and glacial isostatic adjustment, can add context to both our understanding of current lake level fluctuations as well as our attempts to project how future climates and vertical ground movement will impact these levels.
These historical data are from the following journal articles:
"A Reconstruction of Lake Michigan-Huron Water Levels Derived from Tree Ring Chronologies for the Period 1600-1961", Frank H. Quinn and Cynthia E. Sellinger, Journal of Great Lakes Research 32:29-39, 2006
"A 265-year Reconstruction of Lake Erie Water Levels Based on North Pacific Tree Rings", Gregory C. Wiles, Anne C. Krawiec, and Rosanne D. D'Arrigo, Geophysical Research Letters, Volume 36, 2009
"A 4,700-year record of lake level and isostasy for Lake Michigan", Steve J. Baedke and Todd A. Thompson, Journal of Great Lakes Research, 26(4):416-426, 2000.
"A Sault-outlet-referenced mid-to-late Holocene paleohydrograph for Lake Superior constructed from strandplains of beach ridges", John W. Johnston, Erin P. Argyilan, Todd A. Thompson, Steve J. Baedke, Kenneth Lepper, Douglas A. Wilcox, and Steven L. Forman, Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 49:1-17, 2012