Great Lakes Minnesota Climate

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

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Climate Change in Minnesota
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
Although Minnesota's climate may be famed for it's frequent winter blizzards, it is also known for mild summers that makes it an ideal location for a variety of outdoor activities that include canoeing, fishing, camping, and hiking. Climate change stands to change not only Minnesota's climate but also the composition of forests, lakes, and other features that make Minnesota unique.

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

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

Projected Climate Changes in Minnesota
Warmer Temperatures
A 4-8oF rise in winter and a 7-16oF 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. Changes in seasonal precipitation are expected with winter precipitation expected to increase by 15-35% and summer precipitation decreasing by as much as 15%. Thus Minnesota may see drier soils and more droughts.

Extreme Events Extreme heat will be more common, and the frequency of heavy rainstorms, both 24-hour and multi-day, will increase and could be 50-100% higher than today.

Growing Season

The growing season could be 3-6 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:
Loon -- US Fish and Wildlife Service, Art Weber.
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