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Climate Change in the Great Lakes

Climate change is occurring throughout the world but this page details the Great Lakes region. The cause for climate change is produced by the burning of fossil fuels which is done mostly by human activates such as driving automobiles around, deforestation, and operating power plants. This is putting too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for our planet to handle. Plants, trees and the coral reefs use this gas and turn into oxygen. However, we are putting this gas into the atmosphere at an accelerated rate which nature cannot compensate for. This is going to affect the surrounding state’s ecosystems and agricultural practices and quality of life for everything that inhibits the region. Ways to see climate change affecting nature are extreme weather occurrences, agricultural animals or humans dying of heat exhaustion, increase frequency of diseases, different phenology patterns and wild fires and loss of native animal species in regions and an increase of invasive species into a region. Foresters, Natural resource managers are trying to solve this problem and create methods of conservation to ensure forests and wildlife are going to be sustained into the future.

Illinois

  •  Expected temperatures are going to increase in the winter by seven to thirteen degrees Fahrenheit and in the summer the temperature will rise by nine to seventeen degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century.
  • Agriculture will be affect both positively and negatively. Increased carbon dioxide and nitrogen, with a longer growing season could enhance yields of some crops.
  • Severe Weather will increase causing severe thunderstorms and floods to occur. If this happens during the planting and harvesting seasons causing the crop production to become less productive.
  • Floods could lead to greater soil erosion and runoff of farm chemicals. Such an increase could raise the cost of farmers to maintain soil fertility as well as contribute to offsite costs including nutrient overloads and pollution of waterways. Hotter and drier summers and potential droughts could hurt crops and require irrigation of previously rain fed crops. Increase cost for farmers as well as more pressure on water resources.
  • Pests, the warmer the climate with shorter freezing periods, shifts in rainfall, and extended growing seasons could create more complimentary circumstances for pests. Contributing to a buildup of pest populations. This will increase farmers need to use pesticides or chemicals making water quality venerable.
  • The lakes will begin the process of becoming a stratification lake.
  • Invasive species will begin to increase their range northward or develop in population volume such as the Zebra Mussel and common Carp.

 

Wisconsin

  • Anticipated temperatures in the winter will rise five to ten degrees Fahrenheit and eight to seventeen degrees Fahrenheit in the summer by the end of the century.
  • Agriculture will be affect both positively and negatively. Increased carbon dioxide and nitrogen, with a longer growing season could boost yields of some crops. Such as soybeans and wheat. However, higher ozone concentrations can damage “horticulture crops (UCS 1)”.
  • Standard yearly precipitation is not going to change much but generally a drier climate is predictable because rainfall cannot compensate for the increase in evaporation resulting from greater temperatures. Winter precipitation is expected to increase by twenty five percent and summer precipitation will decrease by twenty percent. Extreme heat will be more common and the frequency of heavy rainstorms will increase and could fifty to one hundred percent violent.
  • The increasing season will be four to seven weeks longer.
  • Declines in ice cover on the Great Lakes and inland lakes have been recorded over the past one hundred years and are expected to frequently lose ice cover.
  • As water temperature rises colder water species of such as Lake trout, Brooke trout, and Whitefish, and Northern Pike may decline considerably but cool water species, such as Muskie and Walleye, along with warm water species such as blue gill and smallmouth bass extend their range northward.
  • Invasive species will begin to increase their range northward or develop in population volume such as the Zebra Mussel and common Carp.
  • Forests warmer weather will possible cause the northern most forests of Spruce, Hemlock and Fir to reduce in size and other forest species to move northward depending on their regeneration method and ability to cross bodies of water.
  • Water the stratification of lakes occurs when a warm surface layer of water develops over cooler deeper water. A warming climate increases the duration of summer stratification in deep lakes. This in turn creates frequent and longer dead zones. This is a region of water that has exhausted oxygen therefore, is not capable of supporting life. Constant dead zones can form toxic algal blooms, foul smelling musty tasting drinking water, and immense fish kills known as summerkill.

Michigan

  • A five to ten degree Fahrenheit rise in the winter and a seven to thirteen degree Fahrenheit rise in the summer temperatures by the end of the century.
  • Michigan may see drier soils and more droughts occurring seasonally. Winter precipitation is probably going to increase by fifteen to twenty-five percent. Summer rain will continue to be the same.
  • Extreme heat will be very common throughout the region and there will be an increase of stronger rainstorms.
  • The growing season will be eight to ten weeks longer. Agriculture will be affected both positively and negatively. Increased carbon dioxide and nitrogen, with a longer growing season could boost yields of some crops.
  • There will be less ice coverage in the regions bodies of water.
  • Forests, the warmer temperatures will cause some of the native tree species to die off.
  • The depth and length of the lakes in the region will shrink.
  • The lakes will begin the process of becoming a stratification lake.
  • Invasive species will begin to increase their range northward or develop in population volume such as the Zebra Mussel and common Carp.
  • Floods could lead to greater soil erosion and runoff of farm chemicals. Such an increase could raise the cost of farmers to maintain soil fertility as well as contribute to offsite costs including nutrient overloads and pollution of waterways.

Ohio

  • Temperature will have a rise in the summer by five to seven degrees Fahrenheit and in the winter there will be a rise in temperature by “seven to nine degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Precipitation in the winter is expected to increases by “fifth-teen to twenty percent” and summer precipitation is expected to decrease.
  • Soils will see droughts occurring leading to drier soils throughout the region.
  • Extreme heat will be more common and heavy storms will be more common.
  • The lakes will begin the process of becoming a stratification lake.
  • Pests, the warmer the climate with shorter freezing periods, shifts in rainfall, and extending growing seasons could create more encouraging conditions for pests.
  • Agriculture will be affect both positively and negatively. Increased carbon dioxide and nitrogen, with a longer growing season could boost yields of some crops.

The affects of climate change will be felt throughout the Great Lakes region. The changing climate will affect human life, agricultural practices, wildlife, forests, aquatic species, and bodies of water and soil temperature. These resources will be in jeopardy of not being able to exist in the region. Plants, animals and tree species that are culturally important to the Native American tribes throughout time might disappear from their native lands causing the Native American cultural practices to become obsolete. The soil moisture throughout the region is expected to decrease by thirty percent in the summer; loss of winter ice may harm the reproduction of some aquatic species in the Great lakes bays because the ice sheets shield the eggs from storms. Lowered summer water levels in the lakes and in wetlands are likely to stunt the recharge of groundwater. This will put higher demand for clean water for human consumption and agricultural uses and leave less for animals to drink from. Additionally with temperatures becoming warmer for longer periods of time the invasive species from the southern states will start to migrate up to the Great lakes states. With the temperatures staying high in all of the seasons and there not having a severe freezing period the invasive species will begin to establish themselves in our region possible killing off native plant and animal species. Farmers will see invasive species such as corn ear worms expanding north ward, bean leaf beetles. Many things can be done to help the stop of climate change is supporting or joining green campaigns in congress, voting for politicians that support green technology or businesses, support the laws that are trying to reduce companies from producing carbon emissions. Methods that people can implement in their homes to help reduce the carbon footprint are purchasing green products of light bulbs, cars, washing machines, driers, hang dry clothes in the warmer days, toilets, sinks, stoves. Adjust heating and cooling techniques for homes to be energy efficient or able to run without gas. Buy food products locally so there is no long process where they have to transport the goods from country to country. Reduce, reuse, and recycle every product that is not being utilized so nothing is wasted. Other things that people can do to help combat climate change is planting trees in designed locations or near you home to help produce oxygen and help reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

 

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