Michigan Heats Up: Impacts of Climate Change Around the Great Lakes

Michigan relies on the big bodies of water that surround it called The Great Lakes. It provides fresh water to much of the United States, provides transportation for the commercial industries, and is an economical focal point of Michigan. But with increasing temperatures due to climate change there might be some negative effects of a milder winter and warmer spring.

Warmer temperatures increase risk of severe weather such as thunderstorms and tornados, but even increased precipitation can greatly affect how Michigan operates. Even though warmer temperatures may lead to fewer days of rainfall that doesn’t mean that there won’t be problems when it does rain. According to researchers, the amount of rainfall will significantly increase per storm which leads to flooding of the many rivers, lakes, and streams that wind themselves through the Michigan landscape. The reason for this is the ground will be unable to soak up the moisture and add it to the groundwater at the high rate that it will be coming down. Water transport systems such as sewers and drains might also fill faster than expected which could cause severe flooding in areas that have not been accustomed to high amounts of rainfall, but usually have light rains spread throughout the spring and summer months.

Residents that might feel that rising temperatures will be nice should consider the insects (more precisely, mosquitoes) that will flourish longer in these conditions. The cold will no longer be able to naturally deplete the insect populations and their predators, such as small birds, will have a tough time keeping up. Some residents will feel the heat in medical bills as it could pose health problems to those unaware of the risks for dehydration, heat stroke, and burns.

Since overall rainfall will decrease with climate change there will be other economic effects such as shipping and water transportation. A decrease in water levels will cause major issues for ships wanting to enter the seaways and canals around the Great Lakes. There are ways to deal with this such as building deeper canals and dredging, but this is a costly solution and would take years to accomplish.

Climate change is a huge problem for many states, but Michigan is going to be one of the worst affected. How can we mitigate this? Is it too late?

Tyler Luce

References:

http://www.climatehotmap.org/impacts/greatlakes.html

http://www.cier.umd.edu/climateadaptation/

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2 responses

  1. I really liked how you took an issue like climate change and broke down its effects and applied them to many facets of everyday living for the people of Michigan. Climate Change is a growing problem and showing how its impacts are far reaching is a great way to spread the word and get people involved. For some, the impacts may be uninteresting or unimportant, but such an education would show populations just how encompassing the effects truly are. Schools can and are starting to get the word out in science classes and hopefully they will continue and expand upon such an education, for adults certain news stations should produce stories and research the effects of climate change in regions and what it has the potential of doing in a few years time.

    Megan Povenz

  2. This post has been very helpful, you made the meaning behind Climate Change in the State of Michigan very clear to me. I am not from the state of Michigan and when I came here for school I was always wondering why the Climate Change was pretty much different everyday and I wondered why it changed so much and how drasticlly too. You explained the facts on why climate change in the state of Michigan has been an on going issue and that it will be for awhile. I do believe that many states have this Climate Change issue as well but nothing is as worse as what Michigan is going through. I think it is important that we keep learning about why this is an issue and what we can do to our enviornment to help this.

    Rebecca Levitt

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