Climate Change and Water Quality in the Great Lakes Basin

This multi-dimensional report from the Great Lakes Water Quality Board of the International Joint Commission is written for a cross-section of science, business, resource management, and policy experts in the Great Lakes region. Section 2 provides an overview of climate change and variability projections for the region, including air temperature, precipitation, evapotranspiration, water supply, water levels, ice cover, and water quality. Projected impacts are then provided in Section 3 pertaining to the following sectors: human health, ecosystems and biodiversity, agriculture, fish and wildlife, forests, and recreation and tourism. [Note: More recent scientific studies may be available that relate to the climate science projections in this report, and some of the projected impacts to sectors covered. (See NOAA's Coastal Climate Adaptation Planning Guide - A Great Lakes Supplement, 2011)] Section 4 provides the implications of such impacts to the "beneficial uses" identified in the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

Section 5 of the report provides a primer on basic considerations in the development of adaptation strategies, such as co-benefits, maladaptations, and costs, along with many case studies. Section 6 provides a brief overview of adaptation measures to be considered by various sectors, including: hydro-electric power generation and transmission, commercial navigation, urban development and infrastructure, agriculture, recreation and tourism, industry, forestry, human health, water resources, and ecosystems. The report concludes with a discussion of knowledge gaps and research needs.


Publication Date: August 2003

Related Organizations:

  • International Joint Commission (IJC)


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Assessment

States Affected:


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