Wisconsin's Changing Climate: Impacts and Adaptation

This report from the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) provides an assessment of climate change impacts and adaptation strategies in Wisconsin. This assessment is written for Wisconsin policy-makers, managers, and decision makers in governmental bodies at all levels, including the state, counties, cities and municipalities. The intended audience also includes any person or organizations with a business, property or place already affected or likely affected by a changing climate. This report represents the work of more than 200 educators, researchers, managers, and other experts with intimate knowledge of Wisconsin, particularly the state's climate, waters, fish and wildlife, forests and other natural communities, cities and farms, and public health.

WICCI coordinated sector-based working groups to develop impact assessments and adaptation strategies - for: Agriculture, Central Sands Hydrology, Coastal Communities, Coldwater Fish and Fisheries, Forestry, Human Health, Plants and Natural Communities, Soil Conservation, Stormwater, Water Resources, and Wildlife. Additional working groups included two Wisconsin cities: Green Bay and Milwaukee; as well as a Climate working group and an Adaptation working group to provide cross-sector support. Separate reports are available for each of the working groups. Within this summary report, each focal sector is addressed with extensive information on climate impacts and vulnerabilities, as well as adaptation strategies. 

Working with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the state developed downscaled climate models for the state to project future temperatures and precipitation.  The assessment projected that by the middle of the century the state could experience a 6 to 7 degree F increase in temperatures.  The state could also experience an average of 7 inches of increased precipitation annually in some regions of the state. 

An appendix includes the executive summaries of the technical, scientific working group reports, which are available in full at www.wicci.wisc.edu. The executive summaries contain the main findings of each working group along with key figures, and the full working group reports have further information on methods, results and citations.

Unlike the majority of other statewide adaptation plans to date, this one was not initiated by state legislation or an executive order from the Governor - it is a bottom-up effort based on voluntary staff capacity, expertise and need, funded through existing budgets and foundation grants.


Publication Date: 2011

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