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Great Lakes Article:

Severe climate changes predicted for Minnesota

Because of global climate change, every stream you fish, every deer stand you hunt will change in our lifetimes.

Dr. David Orr, Oberlin College, at the University of Minnesota's Campus Sustainability Workshop, April 23, 2003.

Severe climate changes predicted for Minnesota

The Union of Concerned Scientists and the Ecological Society of America released a new scientific report "Confronting Global Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region: Impacts on Our Communities and Ecosystems" in April 2003. In this two-year study, 13 scientists from Great Lakes states and provinces analyzed trends in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems occurring due to global warming and forecast expected changes from the most recent climate models.

Minnesota results are more severe than previously forecast. During the next century, temperatures are projected to rise 6 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit in winter and 7 to 16 degrees in summer, with 40 or more days exceeding 90 degrees. Minnesota's summer temperatures will feel like today's summer temperatures in Kansas.

The annual average precipitation is not expected to change dramatically, although winter precipitation is projected to increase 15 to 40 percent, while summer precipitation may decrease by 15 percent. This shift in seasonal precipitation, along with higher summer temperatures, would create drier soil and more frequent droughts. In addition, more of our summer precipitation will be in the form of extreme rainstorm events, projected to increase 50 to 100 percent, which would cause more soil erosion, crop devastation, and flooding. In winter, ice-cover declines are expected to continue. These Minnesota climate changes will damage recreation, tourism, agriculture, wildlife habitat, and human health.

ME3 assisted with the report's release in Minnesota, which made front-page news in the Duluth News-Tribune, St. Paul Pioneer Press, and Minneapolis Star Tribune, as well as papers throughout the Great Lakes region. ME3 is working with the Union of Concerned Scientists to get this information into the hands of decision makers.

You can see the report on the Union of Concerned Scientists website, UCS will also be releasing a curriculum guide based on the report findings, which teachers can find on the same website.

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