By: 
Graham Sustainability Institute, Lisa A. Pappas
Release Date: 
5/6/2014

Several University of Michigan researchers contributed to the newly released National Climate Assessment, which states that the impacts of climate change are already being felt and are expected to become increasingly disruptive across the nation throughout this century and beyond.

"Climate change is already happening, and no matter how much we ultimately control the emission of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, we also need to plan and manage the changes that are already underway, as well as those yet to come," said Bierbaum of the U-M School of Natural Resources and Environment (SNRE) who is a lead convening author of the report's chapter on climate change adaptation.

Bierbaum and Marie O'Neill of U-M's School of Public Health serve on the 60-person advisory committee that oversaw development of the latest National Climate Assessment, the third since 2000. A team of more than 300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee produced the report.

U-M aquatic ecologist Don Scavia, director of the Graham Sustainability Institute, is a lead convening author of the report's Midwest chapter. Dan Brown of SNRE is a lead convening author of the chapter on changes in land use and land cover. Doctoral student Missy Stults is a contributing author on the adaptation chapter.

The National Climate Assessment predicts that extreme heat, heavy downpours, and flooding will affect infrastructure, health, agriculture, forestry, transportation, air and water quality, and more. The report also states that climate change will exacerbate a range of risks to the Great Lakes. These impacts will be discussed as part of a Climate Change Adaptation in the Great Lakes Region Conference at U-M June 24-26, 2014.

“The National Climate Assessment marks the most comprehensive scientific report about climate impacts ever produced, and it projects a series of pressing challenges for the Midwest and Great Lakes region,” said Scavia. “It’s imperative that stakeholders, community leaders, and climate experts come together to understand these climate impacts and, more importantly, about how we can become a more resilient region."

The NCA report (including the Midwest chapter) is available at globalchange.gov.