Great Lakes Climate Change Impacts

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 Change Impacts Overview

Unless the build up of heat-trapping gases—such as carbon dioxide—in the atmosphere is slowed, the climate of the Great Lakes region could be noticeably altered. The pages of the 'Explore the Impacts' section discuss some of the potential impacts of climate change. Additional information of more local impacts can be found in the 'Survey the Region' section. Below is a summary of the projected impacts of climate change over the coming century.

Projected Climate Changes in the Great Lakes Region
Warmer Temperatures  
Average temperatures rise 5-20oF (3-11oC) in summer, 5-12oF (3-7oC) in winter.

Precipitation Changes  
Little change in annual average precipitation but higher temperatures leads to more evaporation, which leads to drier conditions, especially in the summer and fall.

Extreme Events  
More extreme downpours, dramatic increases in extreme-heat days, more droughts.

Lake Levels  
More evaporation and declining ice cover likely to lower lake levels.

Growing Season  
Lengthening by several weeks, but varying across region.

Thankfully, there are simple, practical steps we can take to reduce human-created heat-trapping gas emissions and thus reduce many of these impacts. Learn more about the many opportunities available to us under 'Discover the Solutions.' For additional information on the summarized impacts, explore the other colorful pages of this feature.

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Survey the Region
• Overview
• Illinois
• Indiana
• Michigan
• Minnesota
• New York
• Ohio
• Ontario
• Pennsylvania
• Wisconsin


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.