Access

You are not currently logged in.

Login through your institution for access.

login

Log in through your institution.

Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region

Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region: Navigating an Uncertain Future

Thomas Dietz
David Bidwell
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 256
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.14321/j.ctt7ztcjj
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region
    Book Description:

    People living in the Great Lakes region are already feeling the effects of a changing climate. Shifts in seasonal temperatures and precipitation patterns could have dramatic impacts on the economy, ecology, and quality of life. In this illuminating and thorough volume, leading scholars address the challenge of preparing for climate change in the region, where decision makers from various sectors-government, agriculture, recreation, and tourism-must increasingly be aware of the need to incorporate climate change into their short- and long-term planning. The chapters in this revealing book, written by some of the foremost climate change scholars in North America, outline the major trends in the climate of the Great Lakes region, how humans might cope with the uncertainty of climate change impacts, and examples of on-the-ground projects that have addressed these issues.

    eISBN: 978-1-60917-236-7
    Subjects: General Science, Physics, Political Science
    × Close Overlay

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations
  1. Front Matter (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents (pp. [vii]-[viii])
  3. Thinking about Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region (pp. 1-14)

    Thinking about climate change made a dramatic turn in the first decade of the twenty-first century. The scientific consensus is a near certainty that human activities are changing the climate—that warming is unequivocal. To quote a recent report by the U.S. National Academies of (2010b, 1): “A strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems.” The full report (U.S. National Research Council 2010b) goes on to call for a “new era of climate change research,” one...

  4. PART ONE. EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN THE GREAT LAKES REGION
    • Historical Climate Trends in Michigan and the Great Lakes Region (pp. 17-34)
      JEFFREY A. ANDRESEN

      The Great Lakes Basin of North America contains the largest supply of freshwater in the world, with more than 20 percent of the global total (Quinn 1988) (figure 1). The region spans steep climate, geological, and vegetation gradients. Geological features transition from ancient crystalline rocks of the continental craton overlain by glacial sediments in the north to a series of sedimentary rock strata covered by deep unconsolidated deposits in the south (Schaetzl and Isard 2002). Native vegetation also varies greatly, ranging from boreal forest in far northern sections to grassland along far southwestern fringes of the region.

      The current climate...

    • Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Strategies for Great Lakes Nearshore and Coastal Systems (pp. 35-62)
      SCUDDER D. MACKEY

      Within the Great Lakes Basin, individual species, biological communities, and the ecosystem as a whole have adapted to a natural range of physical and environmental conditions that are controlled by the interaction of master variables—climate, geology, and hydrology. Climate change has the potential to significantly alter the physical integrity of the Great Lakes by altering the natural processes and pathways that convey energy, water, and materials through the basin with impacts to sustainable water resources, habitat, biodiversity, and ecological function. Ecological responses will be driven primarily by changes to physical characteristics of the environment.

      Master variables are fundamental characteristics...

    • Climate Change and Biodiversity in the Great Lakes Region: From “Fingerprints” of Change to Helping Safeguard Species (pp. 63-96)
      KIMBERLY R. HALL and TERRY L. ROOT

      Over the last century, the average global surface temperature has increased approximately 0.8°C, and the rate of warming continues to accelerate (Trenberth et al. 2007). Even with this amount of warming, which is small compared to the net increase we may see in the relatively near future (an additional 1.1° to 6.4°C or more increase in the global average by 2100 according to Meehl et al. 2007), wild species are already exhibiting discernible changes (Root et al. 2003; Parmesan and Yohe 2003; Parmesan 2006). Like other regions at moderate latitudes, temperature change projections for the Great Lakes region are somewhat...

  5. PART TWO. DECISION MAKING AND CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Decision Making under Climate Uncertainty: The Power of Understanding Judgment and Decision Processes (pp. 99-128)
      SABINE M. MARX and ELKE U. WEBER

      The disciplines of economics and political science, as well as applied climate science, have added a great deal to our understanding of the obstacles to the use of climate information. However, in order for climate information to be fully embraced and successfully implemented into risk management, the issue needs to be looked at in terms of risk communication to human decision makers—as individuals (e.g., a farmer in Ontario) and in groups (e.g., Chicago city council, tourism boards). What is special about human risk perception and decision making under risk and situations of uncertainty regarding climate? This is where psychology,...

    • Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change: Is Uncertain Information Usable Knowledge? (pp. 129-158)
      WILLIAM E. EASTERLING, CLARK SEIPT, ADAM TERANDO and XIANZENG NIU

      The earth likely is committed to at least 0.5° to 0.6°C of future warming in response to historical atmospheric accumulations of greenhouse gas emissions, regardless of steps taken, if any, to mitigate future emissions (Karl and Trenberth 2003; IPCC 2007). Unabated future emissions will surely add even more warming and climate changes. The effects of future climate change, mitigated or not, on critical ecosystem services such as food production are predicted to require adaptation in order to avoid or minimize losses or seize gains (NRC 2001; Gitay et al. 2001).

      Adaptation to climate change is defined here as adjustment to...

    • Adapting to Climate Change in the Context of Multiple Risks: A Case Study of Cash Crop Farming in Ontario (pp. 159-176)
      BEN BRADSHAW, SUZANNE BELLIVEAU and BARRY SMIT

      Agriculture is inherently sensitive to climatic conditions, and hence is frequently cited as a sector that is potentially vulnerable to anticipated global climate change; indeed, numerous scenario-based climate-change impact assessments have forecast problematic effects such as declining crop yields and heightened food insecurity (e.g., Rosenzweig 1990; Rosenzweig and Parry 1994; Brklacich and Stewart 1995). These concerns are reinforced by other works in this volume (Andresen; Easterling et al.; Winkler et al.) that shed light on the potential implications of climate change for agriculture in the Great Lakes region, specifically. Of course, the degree to which an agricultural system is ultimately...

  6. PART THREE. ADAPTATION TOOLS AND CASE STUDIES
    • The Contextual Importance of Uncertainty in Climate-Sensitive Decision Making: Toward an Integrative Decision-Centered Screening Tool (pp. 179-212)
      SUSANNE MOSER

      As human-induced climate change is increasingly accepted as fact, and decision makers begin to grapple seriously with the policy and management implications, climatic changes have the potential to become relevant to decision making; but the challenges of effectively linking science to policymaking and management practice are real and difficult to overcome. While uncertainties in climate change projections matter in important ways to those who must design and decide on mitigation policies, this paper focuses on the relevance of uncertainty to resource and land management at various levels of governance that addresses adaptation. Clearly, decision makers in the Great Lakes region...

    • Linking Science to Decision Making in the Great Lakes Region (pp. 213-230)
      JOEL D. SCHERAGA

      How does one provide timely and useful scientific information about climate change to decision makers in the Great Lakes region so they can make more informed decisions? Decision makers and resource managers are becoming increasingly aware that climate change may have important implications for the work they do and the attainment of their goals, and should therefore be an additional consideration in their decision-making processes. They understand the need to anticipate and adapt to a changing climate. Consequently, there is a growing demand for scientific information, data, models, and tools to inform and facilitate decisions.

      There has been a rush...

    • The Development and Communication of an Ensemble of Local-Scale Climate Scenarios: An Example from the Pileus Project (pp. 231-248)
      JULIE A. WINKLER, JEANNE M. BISANZ, GALINA S. GUENTCHEV, KRERK PIROMSOPA, JENNI VAN RAVENSWAY, HARYONO PRAWIRANATA, RYAN S. TORRE, HAI KYUNG MIN and JOHNATHAN CLARK

      A rapidly expanding body of literature focuses on the potential impacts of future climate change on natural and human systems at spatial scales ranging from global to local. This literature, referred to as assessments of climate change impact, adaptation, and vulnerability (Carter et al. 2007), or more casually as climate change assessments, often has one or more climate scenarios as a starting point. A “scenario” simply refers to an internally consistent and plausible future state (Carter et al. 1996). In climatology, this term is often used interchangeably with “projection,” but is carefully distinguished from “prediction” or “forecast.” This nuanced distinction...

  7. Preparing for Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region (pp. 249-258)

    There is ample evidence that climate change could have serious repercussions on the economy, ecology, infrastructure, and lifestyles of the Great Lakes region. Sooner or later, residents of the region will have to adapt to current and anticipated conditions caused by changes in temperature, precipitation and other seasonal weather patterns. Adapting to climate change requires people to make decisions under conditions of uncertainty regarding the probability, magnitude, and timing of possible effects. Fortunately, researchers have begun to address how people make decisions in similar circumstances and apply those lessons to the challenges of climate change adaptation.

    This volume is part...

  8. Notes on the Contributors (pp. 259-264)
  9. Reflections on Stephen H. Schneider (pp. 265-266)
  10. Index (pp. 267-269)