Great Lakes Climate in the Region

Great Lakes Communities and Ecosystems at RiskThe Challengespacer
Confront the Challenge
• Climate in the Region
• The Report
• Technical Background
• For Teachers

Explore the Impacts
• Overview
• Migrating Climates
• Water Resources
• Sense of Place

Discover the Solutions
• Overview
• Reducing our Emissions
• Managing our Response
• Ten Personal Solutions

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Climate in the Region
Looking out at one of the Great Lakes

Welcome! The Great Lakes region of Canada and the United States is a beautiful and expansive land. The landscape of this region has been shaped by a rich glacial history and is dominated by the five Great Lakes: Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario. The region is home to 60 million people, more than half of whom live directly in the Great Lakes drainage basin. Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Duluth, Erie, Gary, Hamilton, Milwaukee, Toledo, Toronto, and Windsor are major cities that lie along the rim of the Great Lakes, and are the heart of the region's $2 trillion economy—an amount that exceeds any nation other than Japan and the United States.

The vast monetary wealth of the region is supported by its ecological richness. The combined impacts of climate change and pressure from human activities, however, pose serious challenges to these resources. A recent study by the region's top scientists found that climate change in the Great Lakes region would magnify the harmful side effects of human activity on the region's environment. Thankfully, there are prudent steps we can take now to meet the challenge of climate change.

This feature is designed to introduce you to the findings of this report, Confronting Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region: Impacts on Our Communities and Ecosystems, and to provide you with an overview of how this region's ecosystems and natural resources could change. These insights may help us safeguard both our ecological heritage and our economic future.

We invite you to discover and explore the cost-effective, technically feasible solutions to global warming that are already at hand and, in some cases, already being implemented in the region. Confronting Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region is a wake-up call to Great Lakes residents and visitors alike: We have the knowledge and the resources to tackle the global warming problem and it would be irresponsible to delay when we know what we have to do.

From the "For Teachers" page, you can sign up to be notified when we release the accompanying curriculum guide, created specifically to teach students about climate change in the Great Lakes region.

After you've learned about the threats a changing climate poses to the Great Lakes region, we encourage you to take a couple of minutes to tell policymakers to start tackling the problem. It's easy to do on our action pages.

We'd love to hear your feedback and consider your suggestions for improving this feature. Your comments help us measure our success and give us ideas for future features. So, please send us a quick email note to

Photo Credits:
Lake -- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

--homepage photos--
Toronto City Hall -- City of Toronto, Jose San Juan.
Loon -- EyeWire.
Wetland -- USDA NRCS.
Trout -- Gerald C.Bucher
Cows-windmills -- NREL, Warren Gretz.
Farmscene -- NREL, Bob Allan.
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Survey the Region
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We Need Your Support
to Make Change Happen

We can reduce global warming emissions and ensure communities have the resources they need to withstand the effects of climate change—but not without you. Your generous support helps develop science-based solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.