Climate change is making the Great Lakes warmer, wetter, and wilder, posing threats to natural ecosystems as well as human habitation, three UWindsor researchers argue in an article published Tuesday.
“Overall, warming of the lakes will alter the seasonal patterns of warm and cold water layers and the dynamics of the lakes’ food webs, and it will lead to greater shoreline damage from strong winter storms,” visiting scholar John Hartig and executive director Michael McKay of the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research and law professor Patricia Galvão Ferreira write in the Conversation, which shares news and views from the academic and research community.
“In some areas within the Great Lakes basin, water levels have risen by two metres, eroding shorelines, washing away houses, destroying roads, threatening infrastructure such as water treatment plants and disrupting age-old traditions of Indigenous Peoples.”
The article also details disruptions to bird and fish populations which may displace or extirpate native species.
The researchers propose transboundary co-operation among the governments of Canada and the United States, surrounding states and provinces, and First Nations and Métis peoples.
“An integrated, basin-wide ecosystem approach could allow for cost-sharing of scientific studies and co-ordinated policy action at national and sub-national levels, leading to better adaptation,” they write.
“There is enough scientific evidence that climate change poses a threat to the entire Great Lakes region — and the 38 million people who live there…. All must work together to limit global warming … and all must immediately advance climate adaptation and resilience.”
Read the entire piece, “Warmer, wetter, wilder: 38 million people in the Great Lakes region are threatened by climate change,” in the Conversation.