January 29, 2016

Comprehensive Review of Climate Change Science in the Great Lakes Basin Now Released

There is near unanimous consensus that climate change is occurring and its effects are already being observed across the Great Lakes Basin. In recent years, the recognition of the issue of climate change led to the inclusion of “Climate Change Impacts” as an Annex of the 2012 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA) and the recently ratified Canada-Ontario Agreement (COA) on Great Lakes Water and Ecosystem Health. This was in light of the magnitude and range of potential impacts on the physical, chemical, biological processes in the Basin – and the importance of the environmental services those processes contribute to, including the well-being and livelihood of Great Lakes communities.

To this end, the 2015 State of Climate Change Science in the Great Lakes Basin report was developed to synthesize available science on the observed and projected impacts of climate change in the Great Lakes Basin and document the climate change assessment methods applied in the region. A unique effort was made to evaluate the state of climate change science in the Great Lakes Basin, incorporating both the published literature and the expertise of climate data users and producers over 40 themes related to climatology, hydrology, and ecology. Over 250 studies were reviewed to inform the assessment. In addition to this, 149 users and producers of climate change information were surveyed to elucidate perspectives on the use of climate change information in the Great Lakes Basin.

This report was made possible through support from the Canada-Ontario Agreement (COA), the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA), and Environment Canada (EC). It has also benefited from contributions from past and present members of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (Paul Gray, Quentin Chiotti, Stephanie Barr, Carolynm Winsborough, Jenni McDermid, Jenny Gleeson, Gary Nielson, and Rachelle Lalonde), the Ontario Climate Consortium (Harris Switzman, Edmundo Fausto, and Simran Chattha), McMaster University (Sarah Dickin and Gail Krantzberg), and Environment Canada (Wendy Leger and Nancy Stadler-Salt). We would also like to thank the many researchers who provided feedback and input through workshops, consultations, and reviews, including the Annex 9 Climate Change Impacts Subcommittee of the GLWQA and the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC).

Click here to access more information about the project and related resources (e.g. Knowledge Database).

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