Findings from the National Climate Assessment indicate the Great Lakes region will experience large impacts due to climate change, according to PHYS.ORG. These include intense rainstorms, floods and heat waves.
A collaboration between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University recently released a report delving into other projected changes:
- Increased heat wave intensity and frequency, increased humidity, degraded air quality and changes in mosquito – and tick-borne disease patterns in the region, increasing public health risks.
- Extreme rainfall events and flooding that could lead to increased erosion, declining water quality and negative impacts on transportation, agriculture, human health and infrastructure.
- Changes in the range and distribution of certain fish species and invasive species, as well as more frequent harmful algal blooms and declining beach health.
- Forest composition in the Great Lakes region may change as the climate warms. Many tree species could shift northward, with more southerly varieties replacing them.
Predicted impacts are far-reaching and will affect how those in the region live, work and play, experts say.
“There is an urgent need for all of us to begin building resilience into our communities, natural systems and water management planning practices,” said Elizabeth Gibbons, program manager of the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences + Assessments collaboration. “The impacts of climate change are already being felt and will only increase in the years and decades to come.”