Great Lakes Wisconsin Climate

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Climate Change in Wisconsin
Leopard Frog
Climate Projections
Forests & Wildlife
Human Health
Lakes, Streams, & Fish
Property and Infrastructure
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Water Supply & Pollution
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Climate Change Projections
Wisconsin's traditionally cold, snowy winters favor a variety of winter sports, and the warm summers appeal to thousands of vacationers each year who provide a boost for Wisconsin's local economies. The state's plentiful precipitation and relatively moderate temperatures have contributed to the success of Wisconsin's dairy farming, as well as crops such as corn, small grains, hay, and vegetables.

The latest, most reliable projections of future climate change combine 100 years of historical data for Wisconsin with the most up-to-date general circulation models of the Earth's climate system. In general Wisconsin'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 Wisconsin may feel more like current-day Illinois. By 2095, summer climate will resemble that of Arkansas with winters that feel like current winters in Iowa.

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

Projected Climate Changes in Wisconsin
Warmer Temperatures
A 5-10oF rise in winter and a 8-17oF rise in summer temperatures 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 25% and summer precipitation is expected to decrease as much as 20%. Thus Wisconsin may see drier soils and more summer droughts.

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 4-7 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:
Leopard Frog -- John Maguson.
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