Great Lakes Illinois Climate change

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Climate Change in Illinois
Greater Prairie Chicken
Climate Projections
Human Health
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Recreation & Tourism
Water Supply & Pollution
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Climate Change Projections:
Illinois' climate is known for it's hot and humid summers—summers projected to last longer, and grow warmer due to climate change. Over the past 15 years, Illinois has experienced an increase in extreme weather events, such as a severe drought in 1988, heat waves in 1995 and 1996, Mississippi River floods in 1993 and 2002, and numerous tornadoes and severe storms. Climate change is expected to increase the frequency of these types of events.

The latest, most reliable projections of future climate change combine 100 years of historical data for Illinois with the most up-to-date general circulation models of the Earth's climate system. In general Illinois' climate will grow considerably warmer and probably drier during this century, especially in the summer. As a result of these changes, by 2030 summer in Illinois may feel more like current-day summer in Oklahoma or Arkansas, while winter may feel like present day Missouri. By 2095 summer climate will resemble that of eastern Texas today with winters that feel like Oklahoma.

Below is more detail on these projections. For a graphical depiction, see the Migrating Climates feature.

Projected Climate Changes in Illinois
Warmer Temperatures
A 7-13oF rise in winter temperatures and a 9-17oF rise in summer temperatures are expected by the end of the century.

Precipitation Changes
Although average annual precipitation may not change much, an overall drier climate is expected because rainfall cannot compensate for the increase in evaporation resulting from greater temperatures. Seasonally, winter precipitation is expected to increase by as much as 20% and decrease by as much as 15% in summer. Thus Illinois may see drier soils and more droughts in the summer.

Extreme Events
Extreme heat will be more common, and the frequency of heavy rainstorms will increase and could be 50-150% higher than today.

Growing Season

The growing season could be 3-6 weeks longer.

Photo Credits:
Greater Prairie Chicken -- Illinois State Photo Gallery.
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