Weather We Don't Recognize: How climate change is affecting the Midwest’s weather and how communities are responding

Island Press and the National Wildlife Federation collaborated to produce this report which summarizes the major findings of the 2014 National Climate Assessment for the Midwest, and highlights how communities are responding to the impacts of climate change.

The report discusses general climate impacts across the Midwest including what has already changed and what is predicted into the future. The anticipated impacts on people and wildlife in the region are detailed as related to shifting weather patterns, extreme weather, the dangers of higher temperatures, having too much and too little water, and the rising risk of water contamination.

How land use can enhance or mitigate climate change impacts, as well as the economic impacts of climate change on the Midwest are reviewed. The authors of the NCA conclude that the extensive alteration and conversion of the Midwest’s natural systems that has already occurred make the region especially likely to suffer from warmer weather and the associated problems described in this report.

In addition to the information distilled from the NCA, this report contains examples from Midwestern communities that are taking action to both limit their climate-altering activities and prepare for the changing climate. The case studies highlight local level adaptive actions that enhance, protect, and restore natural infrastructure, such as wetlands, parks, forests, and tree canopies.

A discussion follows on how communities can prepare for climate impacts, focused on nature-based projects. Specific community resiliency measures are described including: infrastructure upgrades and improvements, green infrastructure concepts, improving development policies and practices, updating local and state hazard response plans, and utilizing conservation and restoration methodology to reduce risk. 

The report notes that beyond helping communities adapt and build resilience to climate change, nature-based approaches produce additional benefits in the form of lowered greenhouse gas emissions, jobs, economic revitalization, and habitat for a variety of wildlife.



Publication Date: May 2015

Author or Affiliated User:

  • Sandra Tassel

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Resource Types:

  • Assessment
  • Case study


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