The Great Lakes Basin has warmed more over the last 30 years than the rest of the contiguous United States — and could warm dramatically more by the end of the 21st century, a new, first-of-its-kind study of how climate change has impacted the Great Lakes region finds.
Among the study’s other findings:
– The number of cold winter days that never reach a 32-degree high temperature could drop significantly — by almost two months under some scientifically modeled scenarios.
– Areas within the Great Lakes Basin could see an increase of 17 to 40 extremely warm days, with temperatures above 90 degrees, by century’s end.
– More spring flooding and rainfall in extreme precipitation events could occur, disrupting agriculture and causing expensive infrastructure damage and runoff into rivers and lakes that leads to beach closings and algae blooms.
– Some fish species will be negatively impacted, a cause for concern for Michigan’s $5 billion annual sport-fishing economy.
The study was produced by 18 university researchers, most of them from institutions around the Great Lakes, including Michigan State University and the University of Michigan. It was commissioned at no cost by the nonprofit Environmental Law and Policy Center, based in Chicago, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, a nonprofit public policy organization.