Great Lakes Michigan Climate

Great Lakes Communities and Ecosystems at RiskThe Regionspacer
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• Climate in the Region
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• Overview
• Migrating Climates
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• Reducing our Emissions
• Managing our Response
• Ten Personal Solutions

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Climate Change in Michigan
Climate Projections
Forests & Wildlife
Human Health
Lakes, Streams, & Fish
Property and Infrastructure
Recreation & Tourism
Water Supply & Pollution
Wetlands & Shorebirds
Climate Solutions
Resources & Links

Climate Changes Projections:
Michigan's climate features cold, snowy winters that favor a variety of winter sports, and warm summers that appeal to thousands of vacationers each year and provide a boost for Michigan's local economies. Precipitation and climate in Michigan has also made Michigan a leader in livestock production as well as crops such as red tart cherries, blueberries, cranberries, and blackbeans. Each of these unique features is threatened by projected changes in climate.

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

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

Projected Climate Changes in Michigan
Warmer Temperatures
A 5-10oF rise in winter and a 7-13oF rise in summer temperatures by the end of the century is projected.

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. Thus Michigan may see drier soils and more droughts. Seasonally, winter precipitation is expected to increase by 5-25% while summer precipition is expected to remain the same.

Extreme Events Extreme heat will be more common, and the frequency of heavy rainstorms will increase and could be 50-100% higher than today.

Growing Season

The growing season could be 8-10 weeks longer.

Ice Cover
Declines in ice cover on the Great Lakes and inland lakes have been recorded over the past 100-150 years and are expected to continue.

Photo Credits:
Moose -- USDA Forest Service, Superior National Forest.
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