March 22, 2017

Identifying Climate Change Gaps in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement


In 2015, the OCC and its project partners published a report on the “State of Climate Change Science in the Great Lakes Basin: A Focus on Climatological, Hydrological and Ecological Effects”. The purpose of the report was to synthesize the available science on the observed and projected impacts of climate change in the Great Lakes Basin. The report also documents the climate change assessment methods applied in the region.

This report was initiated to support commitments under Annex 9 (Climate Change Impacts) of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA). The commitments require Annex 9 to take into account the impacts climate change is having on the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes. In addition to this, the report was intended to help communicate and coordinate ongoing developments in current science between Canada and the United States.

The report draws upon research conducted by various levels of government, academia and other organizations. It incorporates a growing body of knowledge in areas related to ecological research and climate change. This report provides researchers, managers and decision makers with a time-stamped, thorough, and methodical examination of that climate change science.

A key component of the report is the knowledge gaps that were identified by theme through a literature review and expert engagement process.


Following the development of the “State of Climate Change Science in the Great Lakes Basin” report, Annex 9 is interested in further understanding climate change gaps and how the GLWQA may work towards filling in those that are key to deliver its role. In addition to this, Annex 9 is also investigating which Annexes are addressing gaps and which gaps are priorities to enable the GLWQA to move forward and share valuable climate change resources across its members.

Methodology and Outcomes:

The OCC team is engaging Annex co-chairs of the GLWQA and sub-committee members through surveys and interviews to gather more information about recent work that has been undertaken, future work, and needs that relate to the knowledge gaps identified in the report mentioned above.


This work was made possible with funding from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).