Human Health

People who are exposed to high temperature extremes eventually suffer from heat stress, dehydration, respiratory distress, and occasionally heat stroke or cardiac malfunction. Luckily, heat waves in the Great Lakes region are still relatively rare. Although the HadCM2 and CGCM1 models suggests significant increases in the number of days above 90°F. Also, interannual variability may decrease – so cool summers may not occur as frequently as they do now. Other impacts from short-term, extreme weather events such as floods, tornadoes, and blizzards, may also increase in frequency in the Great Lakes region – especially heavy precipitation events.

Air pollution associated respiratory disease has not been well studied in the Great Lakes region. Results suggest that air pollutants are but some of many factors involved in the etiology of respiratory diseases. The GCM output from the CGCM1 and HadCM2 models suggests that the number of days with synoptic patterns that are conducive to high ozone will increase by the end of this century across much of the Great Lakes region.

Figure below shows the total number days with favorable synoptic conditions for high ozone during the warm season (May-October), in Detroit, Michigan.

Model Years Southwest Flow High pressure High heat High ozone
Current 20-year period        
CGCM1 1975-1994 1570 2205 10 3
HadCM2 1970-1989 1295 2162 140 22
Future 20-year period        
CGCM1 2080-2099 1603 2171 987 377
HadCM2 2078-2097 1254 2167 582 157

Climate Change & Tourism

The Great Lakes region´s significant natural beauty and cultural features combine to attract tourists from all over the Midwest. Recreation and tourism activities that were looked at for this study include: fishing; snowmobiling; skiing; pleasure boating; leaf peeping; bird watching; hiking; sightseeing (driving); hunting; gambling; and shopping.

Rural Landscape

The current stresses on the rural landscape are already significant. Climate change in the form of increased temperatures and anomalous severe weather events will serve to further challenge a landscape that is already in the process of profound change.